Drinking cup of beetroot juice daily may help lower blood pressure

April 15, 2013

A cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce your blood pressure, according to a small study in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

People with who drank about 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a decrease in blood pressure of about 10 mm Hg. But the preliminary findings don't yet suggest that supplementing your diet with beetroot juice benefits your health, researchers said.

"Our hope is that increasing one's intake of vegetables with a high dietary nitrate content, such as or beetroot, might be a lifestyle approach that one could easily employ to improve cardiovascular health," said Amrita Ahluwalia, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor of vascular pharmacology at The Barts and The London Medical School in London.

The beetroot juice contained about 0.2g of dietary nitrate, levels one might find in a large bowl of lettuce or perhaps two beetroots. In the body the nitrate is converted to a chemical called nitrite and then to nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is a gas that widens blood vessels and aids blood flow.

"We were surprised by how little nitrate was needed to see such a large effect," Ahluwalia said. "This study shows that compared to individuals with healthy blood pressure much less nitrate is needed to produce the kinds of decreases in blood pressure that might provide clinical benefits in people who need to lower their blood pressure. However, we are still uncertain as to whether this effect is maintained in the long term."

The study involved eight women and seven men who had a systolic blood pressure between 140 to 159 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), did not have other and were not taking . 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.

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers. , which is the top number and the highest, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom and lower number, measures blood pressure in the arteries between heart beats.

Compared with the placebo group, participants drinking had reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure—even after nitrite circulating in the blood had returned to their previous levels prior to drinking beetroot. The effect was most pronounced three to six hours after drinking the juice but still present even 24 hours later.

In the United States, more than 77 million adults have diagnosed high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart diseases and stroke. Eating vegetables rich in dietary nitrate and other critical nutrients may be an accessible and inexpensive way to manage , Ahluwalia said.

Getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables is challenging, but results of the study offer hope, she said. "In the U.K., the general public is told that they should be eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day but this can be hard to do. Perhaps we should have a different approach to dietary advice. If one could eat just one (fruit or vegetable) a day, this is one more than nothing and should be viewed as positive."

The USDA recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and the recommends eating eight or more fruit and vegetable servings every day.

Explore further: How eating bread can lower your blood pressure

Related Stories

How eating bread can lower your blood pressure

March 22, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study from the University of Reading has found that even small doses of beetroot juice lower blood pressure. In addition, bread enriched with either white or red beetroot had a similar effect.

Low calorie cranberry juice lowers blood pressure in healthy adults

September 20, 2012
Regularly drinking low-calorie cranberry juice may help get your blood pressure under control, according to new findings presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Beetroot juice properties found to boost athletes' stamina

September 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Athletes competing this summer have benefited from an unlikely ingredient to fuel their Olympic and Paralympic success.

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.