The benefits of beetroot come from the nitrate found within it. The amount of nitrate in one 70-millilitre bottle of beetroot juice is about the same amount found in 100 grams of spinach.

"Our research has shown that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise," said David Poole, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University.

In the study, the beetroot juice consumption resulted in a 38 percent higher blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise and was preferential to the less-oxygenated, fast-twitch muscles.

"Heart failure is a disease where oxygen delivery to particular tissues, especially working skeletal muscles, is impaired, decreasing the capacity to move the arms or legs and be physically active," Poole said.

"The best therapy for these patients is getting up and moving around. However, that is often difficult. Increasing the oxygen delivery to these muscles through beetroot can provide a therapeutic avenue to improve the quality of life for these patients," Poole noted.

The study was published in the Journal of Nitric Oxide, Biology and Chemistry.

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