An explosion of recent research on beet-root juice has focused on the large amount of beets’ dietary nitrates, which are converted into nitrous oxide (NO) in the blood and tissues. NO is a key and ubiquitous molecule in our blood and tissues. Its primary function is to relax and dilate the small blood vessels (capillaries), and stimulate mitochondrial function. It is these functions that have garnered the most attention lately.
Conventional cardiology is well aware of the role of NO in the treatment of heart disease. One of the oldest and best-studied cardiac medicines is nitroglycerin, which almost every heart patient carries in their pockets. Essentially, nitroglycerin works in the same way as beet-root juice in that it relaxes and dilates the small blood vessels, thereby making blood flow easier to the tissues. Of course, as with all pharmaceuticals, there are side effects and rebound effects that inhibit its long-term effectiveness. Not so with beet-root juice. One recent study found beet-root juice improved exercise tolerance, meaning, the amount of exercise tolerated before angina symptoms appeared, better than prescription nitroglycerin. Other studies show beet-root juice reduces blood pressure better and increases oxygen utilization better than prescription nitroglycerin.
Interestingly, besides the well-known effect of dietary nitrates on cardiac function, blood pressure and oxygen utilization, beet-root juice was also shown to improve energy generation because of its rejuvenating effect on the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the tiny power plants in our cells
that take the nutrients from food and convert them into energy. When given daily beet-root juice, the mitochondria improve their efficiency, which results in improved stamina, better erectile function and lower blood pressure.
Yet another line of inquiry showed that consuming beet-root juice before a workout not only improved performance of the muscles, but also dramatically improved brain blood flow and brain function. One group of 70 year olds were studied after the daily consumption of beet-root juice before workouts, and they showed the blood-flow pattern of much younger people.
Finally, even though beet-root juice contains a significant amount of carbohydrates, it has been shown that the daily consumption of beet-root juice improves insulin sensitivity (the root cause of the metabolic syndrome), results in weight loss and lowers the average blood sugar (the HgBA1c).
Using our organically grown, nutrient-rich Beet-Root Juice Powder, or the Three-Beet Powder we make at Dr. Cowan’s Garden, are easy ways to ensure that you get the benefits of beets in your daily diet. I use a tablespoon of Beet-Root Juice Powder before each workout, and 1 tablespoon of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Three-Beet Powder some other time in the day. The Beet-Root Juice Powder is soluble in water, but the Three-Beet Powder is meant to be added to foods such as yogurt, sauces or hamburger, as it contains the full plant, including the fiber.