The earthy flavor of beets can definitely be an acquired taste. But if you’re trying to get back into shape — especially following a heart-related scare — it’s a flavor you’ll quickly learn tastes a lot like relief.
Doctors have long lauded beets for their ability to improve blood circulation. The secret to their circulation-boosting power is the massive concentration of natural nitrates found in the red root veggies. These nitrates perform a key role in helping your body produce extra nitric oxide molecules in the blood, which are extremely helpful in dilating blood vessels and helping more oxygen reach the muscles throughout your body.
Research just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology-Heart Failure underscores just how beneficial beets can be to heart-disease patients. When they examined patients suffering from heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) — the most common and fasting growing cause of heart disease — researchers learned that a daily dose of juiced beets created astounding improvements.
Again, the results weren’t subtle. About 2.4 ounces of beet juice daily for a week packed a 24 percent boost in the patients’ abilities to perform aerobic exercise.
“These initial findings suggest that one week of daily beetroot juice could be a potential therapeutic option to improve aerobic endurance in patients with HFPEF, which has implications for improving everyday activities and quality of life,” said Dalane Kitzman, M.D., a researcher for the study.
HFPEF involves a weakening in the ability of the heart’s left ventricle to get oxygenated blood to the muscles. With one part of the heart struggling, other parts have to work harder. Picture a four cylinder car with two damaged cylinders. It would probably start and go — but making it up a steep hill would be out of the question.
Now suppose you wanted to drive the car to your mechanic to repair the damaged cylinders but his shop is just over a hill. You could try to force the remaining good cylinders to slowly get the car up the hill — but unassisted, you risk damaging them as well. Getting more oxygen to the good cylinders would improve their fuel-burning efficiency. So you might use an additive or make a minor mechanical adjustment to your air/fuel ratio, giving you a little boost to help with the climb.
That’s exactly how the beet juice works for heart health. It allows heart disease patients to get more oxygen throughout their bodies by increasing the efficiency of the well-functioning part of the heart, thus making the exercise vital to full heart recovery more bearable.
You can benefit from the heart-healing power of beets by simply working the root vegetables into your daily diet or juicing them for maximum absorption and convenience. Or, if you’re short on time, look for bottled beet juice or supplements at your local natural health store.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!