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Beetroot juice boosts exercise function in heart patients

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A small yet significant study shows that beetroot juice improves exercise function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.

The new research by Wake Forest University looked at a small group of COPD patients who drank beetroot juice as compared to a placebo drink before exercise.

“The intent of this study was to determine if acute ingestion of beetroot juice, which is rich with nitrates, prior to exercising could improve the exercise capacity of COPD patients,” said Michael Berry, chair of Wake Forest’s department of health and exercise science.

COPD makes it difficult for patients to breathe and worsens over time.

In turn, they tend to limit their activities, become more sedentary, and lose fitness and physical function.

The findings showed overall that those patients who drank beetroot juice were able to extend their exercise time and had reduced exercise diastolic and resting systolic blood pressures.

“This is the first study to demonstrate beneficial effects of dietary nitrite supplementation on exercise performance and blood pressure in patients with COPD,” he added. One of the benefits of exercise is that if you get positive results, you are more likely to continue doing it.

“If beetroot juice positively impacts those results, it could motivate COPD patients to continue to be physically active and improve their health,” he added.

The research appeared in the journal Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry.

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