Beets are associated with a range of health benefits — from improving digestive health to controlling blood pressure. And now, according to new research, a daily glass of beetroot may prove beneficial in reducing inflammation in people with coronary heart disease.
Coronary artery disease (CAD), or coronary artery disease, develops when the coronary arteries become too narrow or cholesterol blockages develop in the wall, depending on Medical News Today. The plaques created due to the accumulation of cholesterol can cause inflammation of the walls of blood vessels.
“Inflammation is vital in protecting the body from injury and infection,” said Dr Asad Shabbir, a clinical researcher at Queen Mary University of London, who led the research. “However, in people with coronary artery disease, persistent inflammation can exacerbate the furring of the arteries, worsening their condition and increasing their risk of heart attack.”
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He added that “a daily glass of beetroot juice could be a way to introduce inorganic nitrate into our diets to help interrupt the inflammation“.
Funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester, the research investigated whether a beet juice high in inorganic nitrate would increase nitric oxide levels, and whether it would affect inflammation.
For the same, the researchers studied 114 healthcare volunteers. Of these, 78 received a typhoid vaccine to temporarily increase inflammation in their blood vessels and 36 received a cream to create a small blister on their skin and produce localized inflammation. Then they were asked to drink 140ml of beetroot juice every morning for seven days. While half of the volunteers drank nitrate-rich juice, the other half drank nitrate-free juice.
In people who received the typhoid vaccine and drank the nitrate-rich juice, higher levels of nitric oxide were found in blood, urine and saliva.
Explaining the same, Dr. Pradeep Mahindrakar, MD Pathology, Laboratory Manager, Micron Metropolis Healthcare Pvt Ltd, Panvel-Navi Mumbai said that “nitric oxide has significant anti-inflammatory effects”. “However, nitric oxide levels are lower in people with heart and circulatory problems because the enzyme that produces it is less active. Inflammation is essential to protect the body from injury and infection. However , in people with coronary heart disease, persistent inflammation can exacerbate the furring of the arteries, worsening their condition and increasing their risk of heart attack,” he said.
The high nitrate content in beets, according to Dr. Mahindrakar, appears to restore the function of the endothelium, the cells that line the inside of all blood vessels. “The endothelium is crucial for maintaining the normal function of blood vessels, but this is lost in inflammation.”
“A daily glass of beetroot juice could be a way to introduce inorganic nitrate into our diet to help interrupt harmful inflammation and increase nitric oxide levels. Thus, it can help prevent heart attacks,” he added.
The expert suggested drinking beetroot juice daily considering its various health benefits. “The recommended intake is 70-140ml of beet juice or 7/8 cup of baked beetroot daily,” he says.
Some other health benefits of beetroot juice, according to Dr. Mahindrakar.
*Lowers blood pressure: Nitrate, compounds in beet juice that turn into nitric oxide in the blood and help enlarge and relax blood vessels.
*Improves physical endurance: Beet juice increases plasma nitrate levels and improves physical performance.
* Improve muscle power in sufferers heart failure.
*Slowing down the progression of dementia: Nitrates may help increase blood flow to the brains of older adults and slow cognitive decline.
*Helps you maintain a healthy weight: Beet juice is low in calories and contains virtually no fat.
*Can prevent cancer: Beets get their rich color from betalains, which are water soluble antioxidants.
*Good source of potassium and other minerals: Beets are a good source of potassium and other minerals, which helps nerves and muscles function properly.
*Supports your liver: The antioxidant betaine potentially helps prevent or reduce fatty deposits in the liver. Betaine may also help protect your liver from toxins.
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