Beet Heart Disease

You might have read the chilling article in The Times recently, that outlined the fact that the number of people dying before the age of 75 in England from cardiovascular disease is the highest it has been for more than a decade. Data from the British Heart Foundation suggest that heart and circulatory diseases cause over a quarter of all deaths in England each year, more than 140,000 deaths per year. 

The good news is that more than 90% of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable through education and action, according to research from the American Heart Association. So in the following post we will dive into the details and provide you with some practical tips and simple diet swaps to help and protect your heart. 

Heart healthy dietary patterns are vital for maintaining and managing blood pressure. Research has shown beneficial effects of both the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diets in reducing low-grade inflammation, reducing blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis. Note that holistic dietary patterns are required, no single food or exercise can help your heart alone, it’s the combination of a variety of positive changes that will benefit most. 

At B.fresh we often talk about foods that heal the body, whether that be from performance and recovery perspective or in this case a health perspective. We rarely touch on the foods that harm our health. But within the topic of heart disease it is as important to know and understand what not to eat and which foods to avoid, as it is knowing and understanding which foods to include. 

Foods that harm

Bad fats

Animal products such as butter, fatty meats, lard, dripping, and certain plant-based fats such as coconut and palm oil are rich in saturated fats. As are processed foods such as pastries and biscuits. Processed foods often contain trans-fats from hydrogenated vegetable oils. Excessive amounts of these trans and saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels and heighten the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Processed foods in general are a recipe for disaster in regards to heart health. Not only do they provide significant amounts of saturated and trans fats that drive up LDL cholesterol, but they often also contain high quantities of salt and refined sugar, both of which have disastrous effects on blood pressure. 


Excessive amounts of dietary sodium or salt, can increase blood pressure and heighten the risk of hypertension, significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke. Salt increases fluid retention in the body, including blood vessels, hence why blood pressure will rise. 

The most significant contributor to our daily salt intake is not from the salt shaker on your table, it is in fact from processed foods again. Ready meals, crisps, cakes all contain high levels of salt to improve flavour and make you crave more. But ultimately harm your health long-term. 

Foods that heal

Fruits, vegetables and wholegrains

The Mediterranean and DASH diets share some commonalities. Both encourage increased intakes of fresh fruits and vegetables, and wholegrains. Research has shown that a diet rich in wholegrains, fruits and vegetables can reduce blood pressure by as much as 11 mm Hg. Each daily serving of vegetables could reduce your risk of heart disease by 4% and eating a minimum of 5 servings of fruit per day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 15%. 

Fruits, vegetables and wholegrains are all naturally rich in fibre. Research has shown that fibre intake is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease. That means the more fibre you eat, the less likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease. These benefits are likely related to the fact that fibre can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, it can also reduce the absorption of saturated fats and cholesterol. Oats are particularly useful in this regard.


Beetroot is a rich source of dietary nitrate. When consumed nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that plays a vital role in controlling blood pressure. Nitric oxide can make blood vessels relax and vasodilate, or simply get wider. These alterations allow for improved blood flow and circulation, but also significant drops in blood pressure and protection against hypertension and many forms of heart disease. 

Research has shown that the regular consumption of beetroot juice is linked to lower blood pressure, with some research showing a drop of 4 - 10 mm Hg within just a few hours after drinking it. 


Spinach is also a rich source of dietary nitrate, so can also boost nitric oxide levels. But spinach is also a rich source of potassium, magnesium, folate and fibre. All of which are known to reduce blood pressure and boost cardiovascular health. 

Research has shown that 100 grams of spinach per day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 16%. Now 100 grams might not seem that realistic, but simply adding small quantities to each meal and then adding a juice with some beetroot and spinach can make that more convenient. 


Pomegranate is a rich source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are the colorful compounds that provide antioxidant protection to the plant. These antioxidants are also incredibly beneficial to our health when consumed regularly. Not only do they provide protection to our cells, but they can also reduce cholesterol levels and enhance the beneficial effects of beetroot and spinach, by extending the rise in nitric oxide levels. 

Regular consumption of pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure in some studies by as much as 5%. 


Spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, capsaicin and more are also known to benefit heart health. Turmeric specifically is widely regarded for its ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This has significant benefits to heart health, with research showing potential to reduce heart disease and reduce blood pressure. Similarly ginger is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, but it can also prevent blood clotting. Other spices and herbs also offer similar benefits. 

Incorporating turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and various other spices into your diet is likely to have significant benefits to heart health. Consider adding cinnamon to oatmeal at breakfast, herbs and spices to vegetables and salads, turmeric and ginger to lean meats, or simply practical and convenient juices or shots. 

Heart healthy fats

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats commonly found in various plants and fatty fish such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oils and salmon can actually significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. They pose as the perfect, healthier alternative to the saturated and trans fats that we previously discussed. 

Consider replacing your processed snacks with a small handful of nuts or seeds, swap out the red meats for salmon from time to time, and use olive oils with salads and crushed avocado in place of butter on toast. 

Concluding remarks

In summary, your dietary habits can play a pivotal role in managing and preventing heart disease and blood pressure issues. Embracing a nutrient-rich diet, filled with foods like spinach, pomegranate, ginger, turmeric, and of course, assortments of fruits and vegetables, is a great way to take care of your heart. Avoiding health tormentors like saturated fats, excessive sodium and processed foods is equally crucial. 

Here at B.fresh we often take a performance view of things thanks to our work with elite athletes and Premier League football teams. But that means we often overlook the many health benefits that our products can offer. The Perform juice is a rich source of beetroot, the Recover juice is naturally packed with pomegranate juice and other antioxidant rich ingredients all of which will benefit heart health. Not to mention the Turmeric and Ginger shots!

Written by Premier League Nutritionist, Matt Jones: MJ Nutrition.

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