Beet Beats

Blood Pressure

Beet Beats Blood Pressure. Healthy Living Magazine

Beet Beats Blood Pressure. Healthy Living Magazine

One glass of beetroot juice a day is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure, conclude researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in the UK. The study, published in the journal Hypertension, was funded by the British Heart Foundation.

“This interesting study builds on previous research by this team and finds that a daily glass of beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension—even those whose high blood pressure was not controlled by drug treatment,” says Dr Shannon Amoils.

nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels

Beetroot contains inorganic nitrate, as do leafy veggies like cabbage and lettuce. They get their nitrate through their roots. Once ingested, the nitrate in beetroot juice is synthesized into nitric oxide that opens up the blood vessels, relaxing and dilating them.

Sixty-four patients aged 18-85 were taking prescribed medication for high blood pressure(BP) but not able to reach their target blood pressure, and the rest with high BP were not yet on medication.

The patients consumed a daily glass of beetroot juice (8.5 oz) with or nitrate-free for fourweeks. The group getting beetroot juice with nitrate levels intact lost 8/4 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) on their BP, enough for many patients to see their levels return to normal. The figures are reductions for systolic (heart pushing) and diastolic (when the heart is relaxing) pressure measurements, respectively.

Equivalent to drugs

The patients in the active supplement group also experienced a 20% or so improvement in blood vessel dilation capacity and their artery stiffness reduced by around 10%. These changes are indicators of the structure changes within that lead to resistance to heart disease. There were no changes to blood pressure in the group imbibing the nitrate-free juice. The reduction was equivalent to medication’s average reduction, the research team said.

“These findings suggest a role for dietary nitrate as an affordable, readilyavailable, adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension,” the team wrote.

For every 2 mmHg increase in blood pressure, the risk of death from heart disease goes up 7% and from stroke by 10%, says Dr Amoils. “This research has proven that a daily inorganic nitrate dose can be as effective as medical intervention in reducing blood pressure and the best part is we can get it from beetroot and other leafy green vegetables.”

cooking matters

Don’t boil veggies though since the nitrate transfers into the water. Try “steaming, roasting or drinking in a juice,” she adds.

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