Beets Beat Disease

beetroot-2686023_1920.jpg

Beet Month, sadly, is coming to a close. Now that you know how they work magic on your bloodstream, how they can boost your performance, and how many you need to eat, we’re going to close out Beet Month by showing you how they can help prevent some nasty diseases...and make your smarter.

Beets Help Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in Canada, responsible for 29% of all deaths. So here's some good news: beets may play a role in preventing heart disease. As we noted earlier this month, the nitrates in beets have a relaxing, widening effect on our blood vessels. This effect is delivered by some types of medications for heart disease. Beets do it naturally.

There is evidence to support it too; beets have been shown to decrease blood pressure by about 4 points (-4.4/-1.1mmHg) [1]. This was achieved with the equivalent of just under 3 cups of sliced beets. So increasing your beet (and other veggie) consumption will decrease your blood pressure.

Beets Reduce the Effects of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is as exactly as terrible as it sounds: it’s lung disease associated with increasing breathlessness. With this breathlessness, your capacity for exercise diminishes. Declining exercise capacity is a strong predictor of worsening COPD. But beets can help: both with exercise capacity and with controlling blood pressure after exercise.

Research found that the consumption of beetroot juice allowed those with COPD to exercise for 30 seconds longer than those who didn’t have any [2]. It also lowered post-exercise blood pressure by 8 points (-8/-6mmHg).

Beets Fight Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition where the blood vessels in your limbs, usually legs, become narrowed. This narrowing leads to decreased blood flow, pain, and decreased exercise capacity.  Once again, beets can help.

Research found that 500mL of beetroot juice lead to an 18% increase in walking distance and 17% longer walking time for those with PAD [3]. Those are impressive gains!

Beets Improve Cognitive Functioning?

As a naturopathic doctor, I am especially excited by this new area of research. Studies indicate that beets have the potential to play a role in keeping your brain healthy as you age. How? By increasing blood flow to areas of the brain, of course.

Beetroot juice with about 5.5mmol of nitrates increased cerebral blood flow and improved cognitive function in a series of mental tests [4]. This means beets may be part of a treatment plan for various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

So what conclusion should we draw from all this science about the crimson tuber? Beets are indeed a super-veggie!

If you have any questions about how to reach your full potential, don't hesitate to contact me, book an appointment, or stop by the clinic.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Oake