High blood pressure, or hypertension as it’s otherwise known, has long been a silent killer due to its links with cardiovascular disease, a cause of strokes and heart attacks. Diet plays a large role in managing this condition, and new studies have shown promise in an unlikely source – the humble beet (or beetroot depending on your region).
The study, published in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal, found that people in the study that drank 8oz (one glass) of beet juice each day had a drop in blood pressure of around 10mm Hg. This effect was even evident up to a day later, but was most pronounced 3 to 6 hours after ingestion.
How can this be? Other health benefits of beets have been known before – they have shown to help reduce bad cholesterol levels, for example. But it is actually the dietary nitrate content in beets that, once in the bloodstream in the form of nitric oxide, helps to widen blood vessels and aid in blood flow. This dietary nitrate can also be found in green leafy vegetables, which is even better news for those of us that already understand the benefits of making healthy vegetable juices.
“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,” said Amrita Ahluwalia, Ph.D., the lead author of the study – a professor of vascular pharmacology at The Barts and The London Medical School.
Indeed, more than 77 million adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure in the United States alone. Drinking healthy juices containing beets and leafy greens have already been proven to help in providing critical nutrients that many people simply overlook in their busy lives. More research into the extent of the benefits of beets is needed, but if this study is anything to go by, I will certainly add them to more of my juices. They’re delicious after all!
What are some of your favorite juices with beets?
The source of this study can be found here: