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Beetroot juice: A heart-healthy boost for postmenopausal women

woman drinking green tea

Drinking beetroot juice daily may significantly improve cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). The research suggests that the nitrates in beetroot juice help maintain blood vessel function, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.

Key findings

  • Cardiovascular benefits: Daily consumption of beetroot juice may enhance blood vessel performance, promoting better heart health.
  • Quick decline: The beneficial effects of beetroot juice diminish within 24 hours if consumption is stopped.
  • Nitrate source: Beetroot juice is rich in nitrates, which are crucial for blood vessel function.

During menopause, the body produces less estrogen, leading to poorer blood vessel function and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, involved 24 postmenopausal women who consumed nitrate-rich beetroot juice daily. The results showed improved blood flow through the brachial artery, although the benefits faded quickly after stopping the juice.

Expert insights

Dr. Jayne Morgan, a cardiologist and Executive Director of Health and Community Education at Piedmont Healthcare Corporation, explained that the loss of estrogen during menopause accelerates the development of heart disease risk factors, such as increased LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. Estrogen also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, reducing plaque development that can lead to heart attacks.

Dr. Jocelyn M. Delgado Spicuzza, the study’s senior author, emphasized the importance of dietary nitrates in maintaining blood vessel function post-menopause. She noted that plant-based nitrates, like those found in beetroot juice, are preferable to meat-based nitrates.

Additional heart-healthy foods

Besides beetroot juice, other foods can support cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women:

  • Pomegranate juice: Rich in polyphenols and antioxidants.
  • Citrus fruits: Contain flavonoids and vitamin C.
  • Dark chocolate: Contains flavonoids that improve endothelial function.
  • Leafy greens: High in nitrates.
  • Berries: Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.
  • Olive oil: High in monounsaturated fats and polyphenols.
  • Garlic: Contains sulfur compounds that improve blood flow.
  • Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Green tea: Contains catechins that support cardiovascular health.


While the study’s findings are promising, experts like Dr. Cheng-Han Chen of Saddleback Medical Center caution that larger trials are needed to confirm the long-term benefits of a high-nitrate diet. For now, maintaining a heart-healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and low in saturated fats remains the best recommendation.

As Dr. Morgan aptly said, “We are what we eat, and food is increasingly being recognized as medicine.”