EXETER, England, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Beetroot juice, known to enable athletes to exercise 16 percent longer, may also help the elderly or those with heart/lung conditions, British researchers say.
Researchers of University of Exeter in England with colleagues at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry found the test subjects, who were given beetroot juice daily used less oxygen while walking -- effectively reducing the effort it took to walk by 12 percent compared with the group given a placebo.
"As you get older, or if you have conditions which affect your cardiovascular system, the amount of oxygen you can take in to use during exercise drops considerably," lead author Katie Lansley, a doctoral student at the University of Exeter, says in a statement.
"While we haven't yet measured the effects on the elderly or those with heart or lung conditions, there is the potential for a positive impact in these populations which we intend to go on and investigate further."
Beetroot juice widens blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and therefore improves circulation, but it also reduces the amount of oxygen muscles need during activity, Lansley explains.