Beetroot Juice Enriched Bread Shown to Lower Blood Pressure
Previous research has shown that beetroot has cardioprotective qualities. Because it is not a commonly consumed vegetable, researchers wanted to investigate if those properties would carry through when beetroot was added to bread. They found that bread enriched with beetroot juice did in fact lower diastolic blood pressure by as much as 7 mmHg.
Participants in the study included 23 healthy men who ate four slices (200 g) of bread enriched with 100 g of beetroot or 200 g of regular white bread as a control. The researchers noted the drop in blood pressure in the beetroot enriched bread group but no change in the regular bread group. They also noted improved blood vessel function in the beetroot group.
The heart healthy qualities of beetroot are usually attributed to its high levels of dietary nitrate. In the body, nitrate is converted to nitrite and then to nitric oxide, which is a gas that widens blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Researchers from the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy in the UK conducted the study. It was published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.
Beetroot is packed with nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, amino acids and calcium. It has been associated in previous studies with lowering blood pressure, improving digestive health, boosting stamina and combating liver problems.