Research shows that drinking this regularly may improve your stamina. And no, it’s not coconut water! By Li Yuling
Photo: Iryna Rasko / www.123rf.com
The next time you’re at the fruit juice stall, ask for beetroot juice.
A new study published in American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology found that after just 15 consecutive days of drinking beetroot juice, people had lower blood pressure and more dilated blood vessels at rest and during exercise.
Researchers then concluded that beetroot juice “can act as a dietary neutracuetical capable of enhancing oxygen delivery and reducing work of the heart such that exercise can be performed at a given workload”.
This supports earlier research that found that beetroot juice supplementation could significantly reduce blood pressure.
On the health benefits of drinking beetroot juice, another interesting study worth highlighting is one by Wake Forest University scientists. They found a link between consumption of nitrate-rich beet juice and increased blood flow to the brain, and theorise that this could possibly slow the progression of dementia in older adults.
So, what’s in beetroot juice that’s so special?
Beetroots (and their juice) are high in nitrates. Nitrates are converted into nitrite by good bacteria in the mouth. Nitrites can help open up (dilate) blood vessels in the body, which in turn increases blood flow and oxygen to tissues.
What’s the nutrition profile of beetroot juice?
According to webmd.com, one cup of raw beets packs 58 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates. A cup of beetroot juice contains about 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates because of the way it is processed.
Besides being good sources of nitrates, beets are also rich in folate (often dubbed the pregnancy nutrient), immunity-boosting vitamin C, filling fibre and free radical-fighting antioxidants.
Better raw than cooked
Besides juicing, you can add beetroot strips to salad for more bite and an earthy flavour. But juicing or pureeing might be better because it releases the enzyme, nitrate reductase, and speeds up the conversion of nitrate to nitrite.
Whichever you choose, have it raw. Boiling could reduce nitrate content in vegetables, according to this Hong Kong government report.