Here’s how beet juice can bolster weak hearts

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Published: September 17, 2015 5:58:39 PM

A new study has revealed that beet juice boosts muscle power in the heart patients

A new study has revealed that beet juice boosts muscle power in the heart patients.

Building on a growing body of work that suggests dietary nitrate improves muscle performance in many elite athletes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that drinking concentrated beet juice also high in nitrates increases muscle power in patients with heart failure.

Senior author Linda R. Peterson said that it’s a small study, but researchers see robust changes in muscle power about two hours after patients drink the beet juice, adding that 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.

Based on research in elite athletes, especially cyclists who use beet juice to boost performance, the study’s corresponding author, Andrew R. Coggan, suggested trying the same strategy in patients with heart failure.

The scientists reported data from nine patients with heart failure. Two hours after the treatment, patients demonstrated a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee. The researchers observed the most substantial benefit when the muscles moved at the highest velocities.

The increase in muscle performance was significant in quick, power-based actions, but researchers saw no improvements in performance during longer tests that measure muscle fatigue.

The nitrates in beet juice, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as arugula and celery are processed by the body into nitric oxide, which is known to relax blood vessels and have other beneficial effects on metabolism.

The study appears in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

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