Beat High Blood Pressure with Beet Juice
Beet juice (beetroot juice) may not be in your refrigerator right now, but if you have high blood pressure, it might be time to put it on your shopping list. A new study found that less than 4 ounces of beet juice can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in normotensive adults.
Move over OJ, beet juice is here
It’s not likely beet juice will take over the popular spots held by OJ and apple juice, but juice made from beets is gaining respect for its apparent medicinal value. A new study from the University of Reading is just one example.
The study involved two experiments: one involving beetroot juice alone and the other using bread products to which beet juice was added. In the single-blind, cross-over juice study, 18 men with normal blood pressure were assigned to drink 0 g, 100 g, 250 g, or 500 g of beet juice. All the men were in a controlled environment and monitored for 24 hours.
After three hours, systolic blood pressure declined 13 mmHg and diastolic pressure declined 16.6 mmHg when the men consumed 100 g beetroot juice. When 500 g of beetroot juice was ingested, the corresponding drops in blood pressure were even greater: 22 mmHg and 18 mmHg, respectively.
In the beetroot and bread experiment, 14 men with normal blood pressure ate one of three different breads: one with no beetroot juice, one with 100 g white beetroot juice, and one with 100 g red juice. The decline in blood pressure was 19 mmHg systolic and 24 mmHg diastolic in the red beetroot bread group and 17 mmHg systolic and 23 mmHg diastolic in the white beetroot bread group.
Professor Julie Lovegrove and her colleagues explained that “Results from these studies are the first to demonstrate that acute ingestion of beetroot juice lowered blood pressure in a near dose-dependent manner in healthy normotensive individuals.” Based on the results of the bread experiment, it appears that nitrates and not the betalains (which give beets their color) have a role in lowering blood pressure.
Read more about beet juice and blood pressure
What are nitrates?
The “secret” behind the medicinal value of beets and its juice is believed to be an ingredient called nitrates. Beets are a rich source of nitrates, and when you ingest them, some are converted to nitrites, which are absorbed in the stomach.