Beetroot May be Therapeutic for Heart Patients

   |  Updated: October 25, 2014 18:12 IST

Beetroot May be Therapeutic for Heart Patients
Beetroot may not be a popular ingredient, but it is definitely a powerhouse of great health benefits. It helps boost stamina, lowers blood pressure and gets our muscles to work harder. A new study has now revealed some additional benefits. Beetroot can help athletes boost their performance and also help those suffering from heart disease.

David Poole, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University has shown in his previous research that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise. In this new study Poole and his colleagues provide the basis for how beetroot juice may benefit athletes by preferentially increasing blood flow by almost 38 percent to fast-twitch muscle fibres - the ones used for explosive running.

The study was published in the Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry and found that in addition to improving athletic performance, beetroot can also improve the quality of life for those who have suffered heart failure lby improving blood flow.

The benefits of beetroot come from the nitrate found within it. The amount of nitrate in one 70-millilitre bottle of beetroot juice is about the same amount found in 100 grams of spinach.

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According to Scott Ferguson, doctoral student in anatomy and physiology, "When consumed, nitrate is reduced in the mouth by bacteria into nitrite. The nitrite is swallowed again and then reduced to nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. The nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, similar to turning on a water faucet, and allows blood to go where it needs to go."
Poole added, "Heart failure is a disease where oxygen delivery to particular tissues, especially working skeletal muscles, is impaired, decreasing the capacity to move the arms or legs and be physically active. The best therapy for these patients is getting up and moving around."

CommentsHe concludes by saying, "Increasing the oxygen delivery to these muscles through beetroot can improve the quality of life for these patients."

With inputs from PTI

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