Beetroot Juice Linked to Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can contribute to heart disease and is often associated with obesity. A small preliminary suggests that drinking beetroot juice may lower blood pressure in the short term.
The beetroot juice used in the study contained 0.2g of dietary nitrate, which is the equivalent of approximately two beetroots or a big bowl of lettuce. The human body converts nitrate to nitrite and then to nitric oxide, which is a gas that widens blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Participants in the study included eight women and seven men who had systolic blood pressure readings between 140 and 159 mm Hg. They were given either 1 cup of beetroot juice or water.
Over the next 24 hours, the researchers monitored the participants’ blood pressure levels. The beetroot juice group saw a 10 mm HG reduction in blood pressure, which was substantially higher than that seen in the placebo group.
The researchers noted that the effects were most noticeable between three and six hours after consumption, however they were still present 24 hours later. They cautioned that more research needs to be conducted in order to determine long-term effects.
Researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 15, 2013, in the journal Hypertension.
Beetroot juice 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.