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Better Heart Health: Beet for Beat

This colorful veggie- Beetroot also known as ‘Chukandar’ can help you lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and prevent heart disease.

Beetroots are a rare sight on your typical Nepali meal. But here is a reason to give your local veggie vendor a visit and seek out this wondrous red root: it is a rich source of nitric oxide. This molecule relaxes and dilates blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow.

Beet juice is a fantastic way of ingesting the high quantity of nitrates naturally present in beets. The nitrates turn into nitric oxide in the digestive tract and begin the revitalization of blood vessels across our body, according to Clifford et al, 2015.

Nitric oxide can do wonders for our bodies. It was even dubbed as the molecule of the year by Science Magazine in 1992 for its nutritional value. Scientists discovered its vital role as a signaling molecule for our cardiovascular system - the heart and all blood vessels, arteries, and veins – were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1998.

Basically, nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it has the power to widen our blood vessels. Better blood flow equals lower stress and pressure on arterial walls, reducing the chance of heart attack or heart failure. Heart diseases often result from constriction of arteries due to cholesterol and plaque deposits in the blood vessels of overweight people and smokers, respectively. Nitric oxide helps counteract this constriction which is why we can also see a medicine called nitroglycerine which easily converts into nitric oxide when it enters our body used in the treatment of heart-related health emergencies.

Constricted blood vessels also result in angina, debilitating and agonizing pain in the chest which is caused by clogged arteries in heart disease patients. Daily intake of a glass of beetroot might help you prevent arterial blockage.

A study conducted in 2019 published in the special issue of “Nutritional Therapy for High Blood Pressure” demonstrated the beneficial properties of beet juice for brain and heart health. According to this research, beetroot juice can modulate microbiomes in our mouth that are beneficial to our brain and heart.

The experiment studied 26 healthy elderly people who were between the ages of 70 and 80. They took part in supplementation tests across two ten-day periods. In one period nitrate-rich beet juice was given to the subjects while in another period they were given a placebo, a drink like a beet juice but only composed of water and no nitrates. When the two experimental results from the different sessions were compared it was discovered that there was an increase of ten strains of healthy bacteria that improves heart and brain health present in the beet juice session. On the other hand, there was also a reduction in levels of fourteen strains of bacteria that can be linked to infection and swelling.

Much evidence from nutritional science endeavors has revealed the wonderful properties of beetroot in improving heart health along with many other health benefits. So even if it is not a typical sight in the average Nepali meal, we should try to incorporate a glass or two of delicious red beets in our diet for our good health and well-being.


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