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Bad-tasting beetroot juice can protect your heart

Remember that old Sonny and Cher song “The Beat Goes On”? It’s about how there’s always some new fad to replace the old…and the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Doesn’t it seem like there’s always some new study telling us some new way to keep our hearts healthy?

Well, this time, you might say that the BEET goes on.

I can’t help but gag just a little when I see that a new study claims choking down beetroot juice daily can protect your heart and prevent a heart attack. I know it’s natural, healthy, and full of antioxidants, but I just don’t like drinking the stuff.

Taste buds, beware!

In the study, folks who managed to knock back 8.5 ounces of nitrate-rich beetroot juice — presumably without throwing it all back up — saw a 24 percent improvement in their blood flow function (known as “flow mediated dilation” or FMD).

Despite my distaste for the drink, I’m not going to dismiss the study’s results, because FMD isn’t just some random test that docs like to whip out and use as a scare tactic. Even slight improvements in vascular function can cut the risk of a heart attack.

The same study also found that this nasty juice can improve platelet function a little, potentially cutting your risk of a clot. It could even help reduce artery stiffness and vascular aging.

Other studies have found similar benefits, and one study found that naturally nitrate-rich beetroot juice can even cut your blood pressure about as effectively as nitrate pills. And it’s safe, with few side effects (other than turning your urine and stool a shocking pink).

The only real danger is to your taste buds.

If you’re like me and can’t handle the taste of it, you can ditch the beetroot juice and protect your ticker with a pint of beer…a glass of wine…or even a shot of your favorite “poison.” Studies show an alcoholic drink or two a day can also improve heart health — including that very same flow-mediated dilation.

Moderate boozers also have a lower risk of heart attacks and they live longer, too.

I’ll drink to that!

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