Blood pressure issues can lead to fatal heart conditions. When it comes to maintaining healthy levels, beets and blood pressure go hand in hand.
The stiffening of your lower heart chambers can be a result of various conditions including obesity, sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
According to research, beets may be able to help your heart health by preventing your heart from stiffening.
Hypertension and Heart Health
By thickening the heart muscle, hypertension creates more force to pump blood out.
Hypertension makes your arteries stiffer, injuring them and causing your blood pressure levels to rise even higher.
For the heart to function, it squeezes to pump blood and quickly relaxes to accept more blood.
When your heart gets stiffer, it will take longer to relax, resulting in various symptoms.
Symptoms include fatigue, swelling in the legs, inability to exercise, and shortness of breath.
These symptoms may occur even when the heart is squeezing completely normal – a condition that is called diastolic heart failure.
Treating Heart Failure
People with diastolic heart failure can take diuretics to get some relief.
Diuretics can lower fluids levels in the lungs, extremities, and other parts of the body.
Medications that can help your heart relax include beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, which can slow your heart rate.
The bad news is that once the heart stiffens, you can only work to prevent more disease.
However, preventing more disease can be done by losing weight, treating sleep apnea, and lowering blood pressure levels.
Other treatments include improving diet, becoming more physically active, and improving sugar control in people with diabetes.
Nitric Oxide, Blood Pressure, and Heart Health
According to a 2015 review in Heart and Circulatory Physiology, people with severe symptoms from a stiffer heart produce less nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a chemical which the body naturally produces, and it helps promote blood flow to multiple organs and muscles, including the heart.
Another 2015 study (this one published in Hypertension) shows that people can lower their blood pressure by eating a diet that includes inorganic nitrates from beet juice.
A diet with inorganic nitrates can also improve exercise endurance, enhance general blood vessel health, and boost oxygen delivery to the heart.
When you consume inorganic nitrates, they release nitric oxide in the body, which helps promote blood flow and lower blood pressure.
There are various foods that are rich in inorganic nitrates and beets are particularly rich with these nitrates.
Other good food sources include celery, dill, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, leeks, parsley, and turnips.
Benefits with Beets and Blood Pressure
According to a 2016 study in JACC Heart Failure, beet juice may positively affect a person’s blood pressure levels and even improve their exercise endurance.
Participants suffered from stiff hearts due to hypertension and 35 percent of them had diabetes.
After one week, they experienced lower systolic blood pressure, including during exercise.
While these studies found no side effects from drinking beet juice, it’s important to note that none of the participants were taking other medications for blood pressure.
Since all the participants had high blood pressure, people who have normal blood pressure levels should drink beet juice with caution, as it may lower their levels too much.
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