Adding colour to anything it touches (whether that be salads, smoothies OR staining your clothes!), beetroot really is an impressive root vegetable. It is packed with nutrients, a great source of fibre, folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C, and its benefits going back as far as Roman times – where it was said to be used as a natural aphrodisiac. Nowadays, recent studies have shown the root has potential to reduce blood pressure, enhance physical performance and improve cognitive function, amongst other health benefits.
Potential benefits of beetroot:
Reduced blood pressure
Beetroot is high in inorganic nitrates, which can cut the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and increasing nitric oxide formation. Studies have shown that the root can significantly lower blood pressure by up to 4-10mmHg in just a few hours. The nitrates work by converting into molecules that dilate the blood vessels called nitric oxides, helping the blood pressure to drop. It has been found that the elderly, those with diabetes and those with heart conditions are at greatest risk of high blood pressure, due to their impaired abilities to synthesize nitric oxide in their cells.
Enhanced physical performance
Many studies show that nitrates in beetroot can improve physical performance by improving the efficiency of the mitochondria, especially during high-intensity endurance exercise. Research proves that drinking 500 ml of beet juice daily for six days extended time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by 15-25%; beetroot is also thought to improve cycling and athletic performance and increase oxygen use by 20%.
May support cognitive function
A reduction in blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain may contribute to the natural mental and cognitive function decline with age. It is thought that the nitrates that beetroot contains may improve cognitive function by encouraging the dilation of blood vessels and therefore increasing blood flow to the brain, this is particularly effective in the front lobe of the brain which is associated with decision making and working memory.
Protection against viruses
Due to its combined contents of nitrates and vitamin C, it is suggested that beetroot may have positive effects against numerous viruses. As beetroot is high in nitrates, it helps the body produce nitric oxide in cells, therefore improve the body’s immune response. Studies of various diseases have found that nitric oxide impairs the virus’ ability to replicate in epithelial lung cells, and stopping it from copying its RNA. Interestingly, a study into the spread of a virus in Japan vs France found that Japan had very few cases compared to France, considering the population of Japan is almost double that of France. This is thought to be due to the fact the traditional Japanese diet has the world’s highest quantity of nitrates at 18.8mg/kg/bw/day, which is five times the suggested daily amount of 3.7mg/kg/bw/day, whereas France’s daily consumption of nitrates was just 40% of the suggest daily amount.
How to get the most out of Beetroot
Beetroot can be consumed in a number of ways including juiced, roasted, steamed or pickled. It is also available in a supplement, such as our Beetroot Extract 6% Nitrates Made with TruBeet® – we suggest a dosage of 4 capsules 30 minutes before activity, or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.
TruBeet® is a unique ingredient providing a high concentration of all-natural nitrates purely derived from Beetroot. The raw material is grown and sourced from a specific area in Southern India and manufactured using a proprietary process to obtain a high potency extract with minimal oxalate content.