News & Events

Added to My Toolbox
Removed from My Toolbox
Added to My Toolbox
Removed from My Toolbox
Mar 08, 2016

Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure and Boosts Exercise Endurance in Heart Failure Patients

Nitrates in beet juice may help improve blood flow and exercise ability.

A daily serving of beet juice may improve quality of life for heart failure patients, based on recent findings linking beetroot juice to blood pressure reductions and improved exercise endurance.

Published in JACC: Heart Failure, this study tested the benefits of beet juice in heart failure patients. Heart failure is a common condition that occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Due to reduced blood flow, many patients with heart failure become unable to exercise, taking a toll on quality of life.

Fortunately, beetroot juice has potential for improving exercise ability in heart failure patients. Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of nitrates, which help improve blood flow and heart health. As such, the nitrates in beet juice may help improve blood flow and exercise ability in patients with heart failure.

To learn more, researchers conducted a small study involving heart failure patients with a history of high blood pressure and very low exercise abilities. A total of 20 older adults participated in the study, all of whom completed multiple office visits over a four-week period.

For the first part of the study, participants were randomly assigned to drink a bottle of beetroot juice or a placebo juice with no nitrates on two separate visits. An hour after drinking the juice, patients used a bike machine to assess exercise ability. Previous studies have suggested that beet juice improves exercise endurance almost immediately, although findings are sparse.

For the second part of the study, participants were randomly assigned to consume one bottle of beetroot or placebo juice a day for 6–8 days. They completed an exercise test before and after the intervention to see if there was any change in exercise ability.

After analysis, researchers found that exercise endurance improved by 24% after one week of daily beetroot juice consumption. Beetroot juice also significantly reduced systolic blood pressure immediately after consumption and after week-long consumption. However, drinking beet juice did not have an immediate impact on exercise tolerance in the first part of the study.

Findings are promising, as treatments to improve exercise ability in heart failure patients are limited. According to authors, medications have been unsuccessful in improving exercise endurance for heart failure patients. The only proven way to improve exercise capacity in older heart failure patients is through exercise training. Based on recent findings, drinking beet juice may be a simple yet effective way for heart failure patients to improve exercise endurance and improve quality of life.

Questions for You to Consider

  • Who is at risk for heart failure?

  • Risk for heart failure increases with age, and is most common in patients with heart disease or other cardiovascular conditions, such as arrhythmia or history of heart attack. 

  • What are common heart failure symptoms?

  • Heart failure symptoms often present themselves slowly but progress and worsen over time. These symptoms include shortness of breath; swelling of feet, ankles or abdomen; fatigue; cough and weight gain.

Featured Video

Statistics show that an estimated five million Americans have heart failure. People who smoke, have diabetes and high blood pressure are at risk. So are people like Richard. He had a family history of heart problems and high cholesterol, likely in part from his love of fast food.

Related

Exercise Benefits for Heart Failure Patients

Overall, exercise is safe and improves quality of life for heart failure patients.

Could Tai Chi Improve Health in Heart Failure Patients?

Tai chi improves quality of life, mood, and confidence in patients with heart failure.

Exercise Minimizes Heart Damage Caused by Obesity

Study shows how exercise helps reduce risk for heart failure, especially in obese adults.

Exercise Could Prevent Heart Failure in Sedentary Middle-Aged Adults

Physical activity has major heart-health benefits, even if you start moving more in middle age.

Walking Helps Prevent Heart Failure in Older Women

Study links brisk walking for 40 minutes several times a week to reduced risk of heart failure.

Eat Better

healthy eating

Healthy eating is an important part of healthy living. Learn more »