Beetroot can help to lower blood pressure

Monday 19th July, 2010

A new study from the UK has concluded that drinking beetroot juice can lower blood pressure quickly and effectively.

The vegetable has been part of a number of studies in recent years looking into its benefits to health. Nutrients present in beetroot such as ‘betaine’ are believed to reduce blood concentration of homocycsteine which is linked to heart disease and stroke.

Now beetroot could be a natural way to help prevent cardiovascular problems. Scientists at the Queen Mary University in London discovered that drinking beetroot juice lowered blood pressure to healthy levels within 24 hours and was just as effective as nitrate tablets in treating high blood pressure.

An organic form of nitrate present in beetroot juice has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health because it increases levels of nitric oxide gas. The gas, which helps to transport messages in the body, helps muscles to relax, induces vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) and increases blood flow.

Study author Amrita Ahluwalia, Professor of Vascular Biology at Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute, said:

“We gave inorganic nitrate capsules or beetroot juice to healthy volunteers and compared their blood pressure responses and the biochemical changes occurring in the circulation.

“We showed that beetroot and nitrate capsules are equally effective in lowering blood pressure indicating that it is the nitrate content of beetroot juice that underlies its potential to reduce blood pressure.

We also found that only a small amount of juice is needed — just 250ml — to have this effect, and that the higher the blood pressure at the start of the study the greater the decrease caused by the nitrate.”

Researchers added that this latest research will be welcome news to people suffering with hypertension (high blood pressure) who want to seek ‘natural approaches’ to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.



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