If you’re having a problem with erectile dysfunction (ED), you may want to pay a visit to the produce aisle or the farmers’ market and pick up some beets. Okay, we admit beets are not among the most popular vegetables, but once you find out what these reddish root veggies are capable of, you may be scanning the Internet for beet recipes.
Beets for Erectile Dysfunction
What’s so special about beets? Although often bypassed on dinner menus, beets have been the subject of a growing number of scientific studies, and here’s a reason why. Beets are rich sources of nitrate, a form of nitrogen that is transformed into nitrite by bacteria on the tongue. When the nitrite reaches the stomach, it converts into nitric oxide or enters the blood as nitrite. Nitric oxide increases blood flow by dilating (widening) blood vessels.
Since all the oral medications to treat erectile dysfunction work by increasing nitric oxide, it seems to follow that beets may help with ED.
One challenge, however, is that so far there are no studies of the direct effect or impact of beet consumption, either as a food, juice, or supplement, on erectile dysfunction. However, there is research on the effects of beets and beet juice on factors that directly affect erectile function, including blood flow, blood pressure, and exercise performance. If beets and beet juice can benefit these related factors, as well as its intimate association with nitric oxide, it may follow that beets can help men with ED. Let’s look at the evidence.
Beets and Exercise Performance
If well-trained rowers drink beet juice, will it improve their performance? That’s what this 2012 randomized, crossover study set out to determine using 14 male rowers who drank either 500 milliliters of beet root juice or a placebo daily for six days. After the supplementation, the men completed timed ergometer repetitions, followed by a seven-day washout period, at which time they consumed the beverage they had not taken the first time. Analysis of the men’s performance after consuming beet juice and placebo showed “Conclusively, nitrate supplementation in the form of BR [beet root] juice resulted in improved maximal rowing-ergometer repetitions, particularly in the later stages of exercise.”
Beet juice demonstrated positive results in another study of exercise performance, but this time it involved patients with peripheral artery disease. When patients consumed beet juice, they were able to walk 18% longer before experiencing pain and had a 17% longer peak walking time when compared with those who drank a placebo.
Beets, Blood Flow, and Blood Pressure
A British research team reported that healthy individuals who drank beet juice experienced an improvement in their blood pressure, and that the effect lasted for up to 24 hours after they consumed the juice. Compared with study subjects who drank water, those who consumed 2 cups of beet juice began to experience a decline in their blood pressure one hour after taking the drink. The peak decline in blood pressure occurred 3 to 4 hours after the volunteers drank the beet juice, and this corresponded with the peak levels of nitrite in their blood.
The authors credited the nitrites in the beets with protecting against endothelial dysfunction, a condition in which blood vessels do not expand and contract as they should in response to changes in blood flow. Endothelial dysfunction also has a role in erectile dysfunction.
Beets and Other Nitrate Vegetables
According to the University of Missouri, the vegetables that contain the greatest amount of nitrates are radishes, followed by beets, turnip tops, carrots, and lettuce. The amount of nitrates found in any given crop depends on the quality of the soil in which they are grown. Therefore, the range of nitrate levels in beets and other vegetables can vary. However, including beets or beet juice as a regular part of your menu could be a healthful complement to your natural management of erectile dysfunction natural management of erectile dysfunction.
If beets are not something you want eat regularly, there are easier ways to get the sexual health benefits of beet root through a daily men’s health supplement that contains natural ingredients that can help men improve their sexual health.