Could beetroot be beneficial for heart failure patients?

March 2, 2016
Could the humble beetroot be beneficial for those with heart failure?

 

When it comes to providing support to older people living with a serious medical condition, it is important to take a holistic approach when both treating the issue and preventing further harm. Heart failure, a condition whereby the heart is incapable of pumping a sufficient amount of blood throughout our body, can be the cause of significant distress and requires a proactive approach to ensure the wellbeing of the person affected.

While there is currently no cure for heart failure, new research has revealed that the humble beetroot could potentially prove to be beneficial for older heart failure patients. Read on to find out more.

About heart failure 

As explained by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, heart failure can either be a result of the heart not using enough force to pump blood around our body, or not filling with enough blood. Sometimes it can even be a combination of the two.

High blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease can all be contributing factors to heart failure, which can also affect each side of the organ differently. Right side failure indicates the heart’s inability to supply the lungs with enough blood to pick up oxygen, while on the left side it reflects the heart’s failure to pump a sufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the rest of our body.

At Tunstall Healthcare, we have range of connected care solutions to help support people with chronic diseases such as heart failure in living as independently and safely as possible. In Australia, it is estimated that 1.3 per cent of the population live with heart failure, equating to roughly over 230,000 people according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The prevalence of heart failure is notably elevated in the older population.

Activity is incredibly important for people with heart conditions. Activity is incredibly important for people with heart conditions.

A surprising effect

A study conducted by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the U.S. discovered that a daily serving of about 70 mls of beetroot juice had a positive effect on blood pressure and exercise tolerance for older heart failure patients with reserved ejection fraction (HFPEF).

Moderate exercise is vital in helping to manage heart conditions, but heart failure sufferers often battle with fatigue and shortness of breath. The results of the beetroot juice administration showed a marked improvement in aerobic endurance by almost 25 percent in the space of one week.

Furthermore, the beetroot juice proved to noticeably lower resting systolic blood pressure, a promising finding for the study.

“Although larger trials need to be conducted, these initial findings suggest that one week of daily beetroot juice could be a potential therapeutic option to improve aerobic endurance in patients with HFPEF, which has implications for improving everyday activities and quality of life,” explained Dr Dalane Kitzman, M.D., senior author of the study.

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