Researchers say beetroot juice may offer benefits to patients with heart disease.
Heart disease is a feared condition that can make life very hard to live with. News that simply drinking some beetroot juice on a regular basis may benefit heart disease patients offers hope for a better quality of life for these people.
Beets have been found to be an excellent source of nitrates, which is a substance that helps open up blood vessels and therefore improves blood flow. This has been observed to be associated with lower blood pressure.
Nitrates, which are found in beets, lower sympathetic nerve responses
The American Physiological Society (APS) reports that heart disease patients may benefit from drinking beetroot juice. Nitrates, which are found in beets, lower sympathetic nerve responses which contribute to heart disease risk.
Dietary nitrate is a compound which dilates blood vessels to lower blood pressure. Nitrates may also decrease overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system which is seen with heart disease. Beetroot juice is a good source of dietary nitrate.
Acute nitrate supplementation from beetroot juice can lower muscle sympathetic outflow
When the sympathetic nervous system is activated there is increased sympathetic nerve activity which results in increased heart rate and blood pressure along with blood vessel constriction. Some forms of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and heart failure, are associated with increased sympathetic nerve activity. Researchers focused on showing that acute nitrate supplementation from beetroot juice can lower muscle sympathetic outflow at rest and while exercising.
Muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) burst rate, which denotes the frequency of nerve activity, was observed to be decreased when the volunteers drank beetroot juice in comparison to when they drank a placebo. Sympathetic nerve activity was also observed to be lower when exercising. It has been suggested that dietary nitrate supplementation can control central sympathetic outflow. It therefore appears the established cardiovascular benefits of dietary nitrate probably involve a neural component.
This study has been published in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. It has been observed that in healthy normotensives acute dietary nitrate supplementation lowers resting blood pressure. It has been suggested by this study that acute beetroot supplementation can lower central sympathetic outflow at rest and while exercising. It has been concluded that supplementation with dietary nitrate may offer a novel intervention to target exaggerated sympathetic outflow in heart disease patients. Enjoying some beetroot juice on a regular basis may serve as a tasty way to benefit heart diease.