Popeye turns to beetroot for his muscle fix

beetroot delivering a little extra oxygenBeetroot is fast joining the ranks of a superfood – several recent studies have reported that beetroot juice

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Boosts stamina
  • Powers brain cells

Beetroots “secret” ingredient is nitrate

Beetroot is not the only vegetable with nitrate – Popeye’s super human strength was derived from spinach’s nitrate. 

Beetroot juice trumps spinach

But beetroot juice tastes pretty pleasant in comparison to spinach.  Downing a glass (250 ml) of the maroon liquid as part of a daily ritual is more manageable than munching 200 – 300 g of spinach day after day.

Nitrate power

The health benefits of nitrate are not new to the medical fraternity.  For years, doctors have used nitrate based drugs  such as nitroprusside and nitroglycerin to treat hypertensive emergencies.

Inside the body the nitrates are metabolized to nitric oxide. 

Nitric oxide is a tiny molecule which is involved in “cell talk” – the chitter chatter that routinely happens between cells. 

One group of cells that “listens” to the nitric oxide chatter are the cells that line the blood vessels.  Nitric oxide encourages these muscle cells to take it easy and relax.

As they relax, the blood vessels get a little bit wider.  This means that there is more room in the “pipes” so the blood flowing through the pipes is under less pressure.  Less pressure in the pipes translates to a drop in overall blood pressure.

More oxygen goes to the muscles

Nitric oxide also inspires the mitochondria to burn fuel more efficiently so your muscles have a little extra power.

A beetroot juice a day

Keeps the cardiologist at bay

Okay, maybe a juice a day is a little obsessive, but quenching your thirst with a cold beetroot juice is probably going to be a better than a coke.

If  you’re having a particularly rough day, the extra oxygen will give you super human strength just like Popeye, the sailor man.

Dietary inorganic nitrate improves mitochondrial efficiency in humans,  Cell Metabolism (2011) 13(2) : 149-159.   Filip J Larsen, Tomas A Schiffer, Sara Borniquel,

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Further reading

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10 “foods”  that scientists say lower your blood pressure Men who accessorize with red have sex appeal Pink pigments in cranberries help you “tinkle” better

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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