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Growing up, we may have heard the threats of eat your vegetables! And your mother may have known best! A diet that is rich in vegetables has been well documented for the cardiovascular benefits and those benefits may be due to the high nitrate content found in several. While nitrates are found in a variety of vegetables, it is especially high in beet roots.
What Are Dietary Nitrates?
Nitrates are a type of molecule that is found in many vegetables. When they enter the body, nitrates are converted into a compound called nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is important because it helps to relax and widen blood vessels, which then improves blood flow. This can lead to lower blood pressure and less strain on the heart. Recent research suggests that NO not only decreases blood pressure but reduces arterial stiffness, improved blood flow in hypoxic tissues, improves endothelial function and may also reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and athletic performance.
What Are Sources of Dietary Nitrates?
Beet Root juice or powder is a quick and easy way to get your nitrates. Some people may find the taste unappealing and they may also notice their urine change color, which is called "Beeturia". There is no cause for alarm and rest assured, there are many other vegetables, especially green leafy veggies, that are also high in nitrates.
What Makes Beet Root Beneficial?
The color in beets is from betalains, which is a natural pigment in plants that provides health benefits. Betalains contain powerful antioxidants which are known to protect your cells as well as anti-inflammatory properties to reduce inflammation that is linked to several diseases such as heart disease, asthma, Type 2 diabetes and others. Beets are rich in vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and fiber. So it is not just the nitrates in beet root that are beneficial but the amount of antioxidants is also a big bonus for your health!
Beet Root Powder and Lower Blood Pressure
The research on beet root (powder or juice) has involved the effects on cardiovascular health. For example, one study of 68 people with high blood pressure found that drinking 250 mL of beetroot juice every day for four weeks was associated with significant reductions in blood pressure, likely because of the nitrates in it. (1)
Another study was completed on 24 people who had leg pain while walking, caused by narrowing of the arteries in the legs or peripheral artery disease. All of the participants completed an exercise program; half consumed beetroot juice about three hours prior to each exercise session. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that those who drank beetroot juice had a three-fold greater improvement in the length of time they could walk compared to those didn’t drink the juice.
What Other Benefits Does Beet Root Provide?
With over 75 million people in the US having high blood pressure, this is one big reason to take beet root powder or juice. Many in this country are looking to find a natural way to lower blood pressure.
By increasing blood flow and increasing oxygen to the brain, beet roots may play a role in brain power; age-related memory loss and degenerative conditions such as dementia.
Improvement in athletic performance has attracted many athletes to take beet root daily.
One of the major beet root benefits is in fighting inflammation. This is important. If you can lower inflammation in the body, you have a better chance of fighting off many of our degenerative diseases.
The betalain in beets has been shown to be a powerful tool to help your liver detoxify itself so as to function more efficiently.
The nitrates in beet roots support healthy blood flow so it has been thought to help erectile dysfunction (ED).
Beet roots contain high doses of vitamin C, potassium, and many other minerals with minimal calories and fat - think about this - one teaspoon of beetroot powder equals one full beetroot. Nutrient dense foods, low in calories, are beneficial if you are trying to lose weight. You can get more nutrients in concentrated form.
What Dosage Provides Benefits?
For the average person to benefit from beet roots, the ideal amount may be around 2-3 teaspoons or 300-500 mg if in a powdered supplement.
What If You Can't Handle The Taste Of Beets?
Then look for a supplement that fits your needs whether you are an athlete or someone looking to lower your blood pressure. A product such as the Xendurance, FOCUS powder provides close to 500 mg of beet root powder per scoop. Focus is a proprietary, nootropic blend made with clean, natural energy sources to help you with energy and concentration.
Top 6 Focus Benefits:
Beet Roots To The Rescue!
After reading about the benefits of this bright red superfood, we hope you have appreciation for this powerful vegetable and don't turnip your nose the next time it is served to you on your dinner plate! Eat Your Beets!
(1) Jones T, Dunn EL, Macdonald JH, Kubis HP, McMahon N, Sandoo A. The Effects of Beetroot Juice on Blood Pressure, Microvascular Function and Large-Vessel Endothelial Function: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study in Healthy Older Adults. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1792. Published 2019 Aug 2. doi:10.3390/nu11081792