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.