Daily shot of beetroot juice may improve health of angina patients

Drinking a mere 70ml of the juice every day for six months lowers heart incidents by nearly half, research suggests

Freshly prepared beetroot juice in a glass cup. Getty Images
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A daily shot of beetroot juice may halve the chance of angina patients suffering a heart attack or needing repeat treatment, early-stage research suggests.

A study presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester found the juice helped people with angina, a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles.

All those in the study had had a stent put in previously – a wire mesh tube inserted into arteries to keep them open.

Drinking only 70ml of beetroot juice every day for six months after having a stent fitted reduced the chance of angina patients having a heart attack or needing a repeat procedure, the findings showed.

While more research is needed, experts said inorganic nitrate, which is found naturally in beetroot juice, is likely to be having a beneficial effect.

The study of 300 people was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Researchers based at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Queen Mary University in London found 16 per cent of angina patients had a serious heart or circulatory incident, like a heart attack or need for another procedure, in the two years after having a stent fitted.

However, when patients drank beetroot juice daily, this figure dropped to 7.5 per cent.

In addition, when the blood-vessel width of patients was measured six months after stenting, about half as much narrowing was measured in the vessels of those who drank beetroot juice in that time as those who had a placebo treatment.

Dr Krishnaraj Rathod, clinical senior lecturer at the William Harvey Research Institute, QMUL, who led the trial, said: “Experiments in the lab suggested that the inorganic nitrate, which is found naturally in beetroot juice, would have these effects and it is very encouraging to see it create such a big improvement in the clinic for angina patients.

“Our patients liked that their treatment was a completely natural product that has no significant side effects.

“We will now take this to the next stage of trials in the hope that doctors can soon prescribe beetroot juice to ensure stents last longer to provide even more effective relief of symptoms.”

The researchers said they could show beetroot juice helps patients thanks to the high level of inorganic nitrate.

Patients in the trial that had beetroot juice with inorganic nitrate removed did not receive the same beneficial effects.

Updated: June 06, 2023, 11:01 PM