The superjuice that makes your arteries loose
Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day. To keep that action from stressing stiff arteries, you should drink the juice that enhances arterial health.
A study at Penn States confirms that beetroot juice eases your heart’s workload because it contains nitrates, natural chemicals that help blood vessels dilate.
The tests at Penn State were originally designed to see if beet juice could help athletes perform at a higher level. Many weight lifters, football players and other competitors consume beetroot juice in order to improve blood flow to their muscles and keep their muscles from tiring.
Unfortunately, the researchers didn’t find that beet juice can improve physical performance in highly trained athletes, but they did find that it is a dependable tonic for lowering blood pressure and helping endothelial tissue (artery walls) function optimally.
In the study, the researchers measured blood flow to the forearm during a handgrip test. The juice did not help arteries deliver more blood to working muscles while they were contracting.
“Beetroot juice… had no effect on the dilation (widening) of the brachial artery in these volunteers,” says researcher Jin-Kwang Kim.
The scientists believe, however, that people in poorer health than the athletes they tested get more benefit from beet juice. The athletes in the study were already in such good health and possessed such high blood flow to their muscles, that there wasn’t much room for improvement no matter how many benefits might be inherent in beetroot juice.
“(Our) subjects were young individuals with blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the ‘very healthy’ range,” says researcher David Proctor. “Therefore, the lack of improvement in muscle blood flow and vessel function following nitrate supplementation could result from the fact that these subjects had well-preserved vascular endothelial function to begin with.”
But if you spend most of your life at a desk job and not in the weight room, beetroot juice could make a big difference in your cardiovascular health.