Beet Juice, High In Nitrates, Can Lower High Blood Pressure

Researchers from the Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry found that drinking 8 ounces of beet juice per day can lower blood pressure. Beet juice is rich in organic nitrate (NO3), which helps expand blood vessels in the body. One cup of beet juice is equivalent to approximately two whole beets.

A total of 15 patients diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure participated in the study. The patients had recorded blood pressures of 140/90 and never received antihypertensive therapy prior to the study.  

They were each given an 8-ounce serving of beet juice and also 8 ounces of water containing low levels of nitrate. The blood pressure of each participant was monitored for 24 hours.

Researchers found that the beet juice reduced the blood pressure of the participants by an average of 11.2 millimeters of mercury (mm HG). This was determined within three to six hours.

"Our hope is that increasing one's intake of vegetables with a high dietary nitrate content, such as green leafy vegetables or beetroot, might be a lifestyle approach that one could easily employ to improve cardiovascular health," one of the researchers, Dr. Amrita Ahluwalia of Queen Mary University of London, said.

Nearly 30 percent of people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, which puts them at an elevated risk for heart attack or stroke.

"Lowering blood pressure in people with raised blood pressure is very important because we know that approximately 50 percent of all heart attacks and 60 to 70 percent of all strokes are a direct consequence of having high blood pressure," Ahluwalia said. Details of the study were published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association

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