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Longevity research has gained momentum in the past decade, unleashing a plethora of information on the components of healthy ageing. Many of the antidotes, it transpires, are available through diet. The consumption of one red drink has proven instrumental in slowing cancer growth and reducing blood pressure, which could prevent early death.
In recent years, scientists have highlighted several qualities of beetroot that may render the food source useful in cancer prevention.
According to the platform CaroMont Health, beetroot can help slow down the development of active tumours in the body.
The health body adds that a glass of beetroot juice provides the same health benefits as the root vegetable itself.
Writing in the Journal of Cancer Prevention, researchers explained that as a health-promoting functional food, beetroot “may be potentially beneficial in cancer”.
Some of these benefits have been attributed to beetroot’s role in the reparation of DNA cells.
The proliferation of damaged DNA cells is at the heart of cancer development, so this discovery has led to the belief that beets may hamper cancer growth.
The scientific report stated: “As a source of polyphenols, flavonoids, dietary nitrates and other useful nutrients, beetroot supplementation may provide a holistic means to prevent cancer and manage undesired effects associated with chemotherapy.”
Some of the anticancer properties in beetroot have also been attributed to the vegetable’s B-carotene and lutein content.
Research funded by the Queen Mary University of London was one of the most recent to highlight the benefits of beetroot juice for blood pressure control.
The study found that drinking just one cup of beetroot juice per day significantly lowered systolic blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.
This reaction has been attributed to the nitrate content of beetroot, which has been shown to improve endothelial function.
Once digested, nitrate is converted into nitric oxide, which relaxes and widens the blood vessels.
This allows the pressure exerted against arterial walls to decrease, which reduces pressure on the heart as it pumps blood around the body.
In one particular study, published in the journal Hypertension, blood pressure was “substantially” reduced in healthy volunteers approximately within three hours of ingesting 500 mL of beetroot juice.
Separate bodies of research have shown beetroot juice can enhance athletic endurance and increase oxygen use.
By increasing blood flow to the brain, the juice may also confer some protection against neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.
In fact, MRI scans in some studies have revealed increased blood flow in the frontal lobes, the part of the brain associated with cognitive thinking and behaviour.
What’s more, in a 2015 study, people with heart failure experienced a 13 percent increase in muscle power two hours after drinking beet juice.
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