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Research suggests a daily glass of beetroot juice reduces harmful inflammation in people with coronary heart disease, by boosting nitric oxide levels.
People with this condition have lower levels of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is produced naturally by the body and is vital for good health, regulates blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory effects.
“In people with coronary heart disease persistent inflammation can exacerbate the furring of the arteries ... increasing their risk of a heart attack.,” said Dr Asad Shabbir, lead researcher.
The team studied 114 healthy volunteers. 36 were given a cream to create a small blister on their skin and produce more localised inflammation.
The volunteers drank 140ml of beetroot juice every morning for seven days.
Those who drank the nitrate-rich beetroot juice had higher levels of markers of nitric oxide in their blood, urine, and saliva and blisters healed more quickly.
The high nitrate juice also appeared to restore the function of the endothelium.
Clinical trials are now being planned to see whether a high nitrate diet can reduce the risk of heart attacks.
The research was carried out at Queen Mary University of London and presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester.