Beet juice helps body acclimatise to altitude; red wine good for diabetics

High altitude makes blood vessels contract, but drinking beet juice high in nitrates restores the vessels to normal function.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 October, 2015, 9:10pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2015, 3:42pm

If you're heading into high altitude, consider taking a bottle of beet juice. A study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has found that drinking beet juice restored reduced blood vessel function at high altitude, thereby helping the body acclimatise better. The researchers studied men and women on a 39-day expedition to Kathmandu and at 3,700 metres in the Rolwaling Valley in Nepal. Ultrasound was used to check blood vessel function, before and during the high-altitude expedition. As expected, the high altitude made blood vessels contract. The test subjects drank two types of beet juice - one nitrate-rich and the other a placebo with no nitrate - with a 24-hour break between tests. The double-blind study found that beet juice with high amounts of nitrate made the blood vessels relax and return to normal function, while the placebo did not have any effect.

Red wine health benefits for type-2 diabetics

A glass of red wine every night may help people with type-2 diabetes manage their cholesterol and cardiac health, according to new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Additionally, both red and white wine can improve sugar control - if the patient is genetically predisposed to metabolise alcohol slowly. People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular diseases than the general population and have lower levels of "good" (HDL) cholesterol. "Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles, mainly by modestly improving the lipid profile, by increasing good cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1 (one of the major constituents of HDL cholesterol), while decreasing the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol," the researchers say. The study participants kept to a Mediterranean diet and were split into three groups, drinking either 150ml of mineral water, white wine or red wine with dinner every night for two years. Approximately one in five participants was found to be a fast alcohol-metaboliser - and they saw no improvement in blood sugar control.

Can work stress be linked to stroke?

Having a high-stress job may be linked to a higher risk of stroke, according to an analysis of several studies published in Neurology. The analysis involved six studies with a total of 138,782 participants who were followed for three to 17 years. Jobs were classified into four groups based on how much control workers had and how hard they worked, or the psychological demands of the job. Physical labour and total number of hours worked were not included. In the six studies, those with high-stress jobs comprised from 11 per cent to 27 per cent of the participants. People with high-stress jobs had a 22 per cent higher risk of stroke than those with low-stress jobs. Women with high-stress jobs had a 33 per cent higher risk of stroke than women with low-stress jobs. People in passive and active jobs did not have any increased risk of stroke. A researcher said " high-stress jobs [could] lead to unhealthy behaviours".