Posted on May 08, 2013, 6 a.m.
A cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg.
In the human body, nitric oxide widens blood vessels and aids blood flow. Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitrite and then to nitric oxide. Amrita Ahluwalia, from The London Medical School (United Kingdom), and colleagues enrolled 8 women and 7 men with a systolic blood pressure between 140 to 159 mm Hg, who did not have other medical complications and were not taking blood pressure medication. The study participants drank 250 mL of beetroot juice or water containing a low amount of nitrate, and had their blood pressure monitored over the next 24 hours. Compared with the placebo group, participants drinking beetroot juice had reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure —the effect was most pronounced three to six hours after drinking the juice but still present even 24 hours later. The study authors submit that: “Our observations … support the concept of dietary nitrate supplementation as an effective, but simple and inexpensive, antihypertensive strategy.”
Suborno M. Ghosh, Vikas Kapil, Isabel Fuentes-Calvo, Kristen J. Bubb, Vanessa Pearl, Amrita Ahluwalia, et al. “Enhanced Vasodilator Activity of Nitrite in Hypertension: Critical Role for Erythrocytic Xanthine Oxidoreductase and Translational Potential.” Hypertension. April 15, 2013