Beets come in a variety of colors, from red, white to gold. They are a root vegetable, much like carrots, and have a sweet flavor. They can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Beets are considered a multi-purpose vegetable, because the roots and the leaves are both edible.
There are so many reasons to eat beets. They have compounds that have shown potent anti-inflammatory properties. Three specific compounds betanin, isobetanin, and vulgaxanthin have especially shown these benefits. Reducing inflammation is one of the keys to overall health and preventing disease.
New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that beet juice helps boost muscle function in patients with heart failure.
“It’s a small study, but we see robust changes in muscle power about two hours after patients drink the beet juice,” said senior author Linda R. Peterson, MD, associate professor of medicine. “A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based — getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life. We want to help make people more powerful because power is such an important predictor of how well people do, whether they have heart failure, cancer or other conditions. In general, physically more powerful people live longer.”
Based on previous research involving beet juice and elite athletes, Andrew R. Coggan, PhD, assistant professor of radiology and co-author of the study, suggested trying the same on patients with heart failure.
The researchers reported that the patients had a 13 percent increase in muscle power and function in the muscles that help extend the knee.
One of the main complications with heart failure is a decrease in the pumping of blood.
“The heart can’t pump enough in these patients, but that’s just where the problems start,” said Peterson, a cardiologist and director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “Heart failure becomes a whole-body problem because of the metabolic changes that happen, increasing the risk of conditions such as insulin resistance and diabetes and generally leading to weaker muscles overall.”
The study showing that beet juice helps boost muscle function was published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.
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1. “Beet Juice Boosts Muscle Power in Heart Patients.” Washington University in St. Louis. Washington University in St. Louis, 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.
2. “Acute Dietary Nitrate Intake Improves Muscle Contractile Function in Patients With Heart Failure.” Circulation: Heart Failure. American Heart Association, 15 July 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.