Beetroot does not warm people up, new research reveals, contradicting the popular old wives’ tale.
After drinking the concentrated vegetable juice, those who are sensitive to the cold are no less chilly, a study found.
Their core temperature, and that of their hands and feet, is also unaltered after consuming the beverage.
Previous research suggests beetroot’s nitrate content helps to widen blood vessels, which carries warmth to the fingers and toes.
Lead author Dr Ant Shepherd from the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘Beetroot has very high nitrate levels so we thought beetroot may make people warm up.
‘That it didn’t could be because [it] is being neutralised or converted, or it could be that we need to give juice over a longer period.’
Beetroot does not warm people up, new research reveals, contradicting the old wives tale
DRINKING BEETROOT JUICE BEFORE EXERCISE STRENGTHENS THE BRAIN AND MAY PREVENT DEMENTIA
Drinking beetroot juice before exercise could take years off your brain, research revealed in April.
Combining the drink with exercise strengthens certain regions of the brain, making it appear more youthful and potentially preventing the organ’s decline, a study by Wake Forest University, North Carolina, found.
This finding could help people who are at-risk of brain deterioration to remain functionally independent, such as those with a family history of dementia.
Beetroot juice’s power likely lies in its nitric oxide content, which both increases blood flow to the brain and improves exercise performance.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed 13 adults who report being sensitive to the cold.
Their hands and feet were cooled in 15C temperature water for two minutes, before being rewarmed in 30C air.
The study’s participant’s skin temperature and ability to maintain their core temperature was assessed.
The participants then repeated the experiment after consuming either concentrated nitrate-rich beetroot juice or a placebo drink.
Temperature unchanged after drinking beetroot juice
Results reveal drinking beetroot juice does not significantly alter people’s response to foot and hand cooling or their core temperature.
Blood pressure is also unchanged after consuming the vegetable beverage.
The myth of beetroots warming people up originates from scientists believing the vegetable’s nitrate content is converted into nitric oxide that widens blood vessels and therefore carries warmth to the fingers and toes.
Dr Shepherd said: ‘Beetroot has very high nitrate levels – other vegetables, particularly leafy greens, are high in nitrate too, but not to the same degree – so we thought beetroot may make people warm up.
‘That it didn’t could be because the nitric oxide is being neutralised or converted by oxidants in the body, or it could be that we need to give juice over a longer period.’