Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure, Again
You may have heard the news before, but here it is again: beetroot juice lowers blood pressure. A new study from the University of London adds to the growing list of research showing that drinking beetroot juice is an effective way to bring your blood pressure down.
What’s special about beetroot juice?
Beets are an excellent source of nitrate, a substance which, when converted to nitric oxide, improves blood flow by helping relax the blood vessels. This action in burn lowers blood pressure, a benefit that could be welcomed by the estimated 1 billion people around the world with hypertension.
In this new study, the latest of many, researchers enrolled 15 adults who had a systolic blood pressure ranging from 140 to 159 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and who were not taking medication for hypertension. Individuals with this range of systolic blood pressure are classified as having stage 1 high blood pressure.
Participants consumed 250 milliliters of beetroot juice or water containing a small amount of nitrate over a 24-hour period. The juice contained about 0.2 grams of nitrate, which is about the same amount you will get from eating two beets.
The study participants who consumed this amount of nitrate averaged a 10 point decline in their blood pressure over the 24-hour period. According to Amrita Ahluwalia, PhD, professor of vascular pharmacology at The Barts and The London Medical School of London as well as the study’s lead author, “We were surprised by how little nitrate was needed to see such a large effect,” in a Medical News Today report.
More beetroot studies on high blood pressure
Numerous other studies have proclaimed the benefits of beetroot juice. For example:
- A study in the Nutrition Journal examined the impact of beet juice on blood pressure in 30 healthy men and women. Researchers found that drinking 500 grams of beetroot resulted in a significant decline in systolic blood pressure of 4 mmHg to 5 mmHg in men and a 2.5 mmHg decline in women.
- At the University of Reading, men with normal blood pressure who drank 500 grams of beetroot juice experienced a decline of 22mmHg in systolic blood pressure and 18 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.
- At the same university, men who ate bread that contained 100 grams of beet juice saw a decline of 17 to 19 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and a 23 to 24 mmHg decline in diastolic blood pressure.
Other foods that contain a significant amount of nitrates (more than 250 mg per 100 grams of fresh food) include arugula, celery, chervil, cress, lettuce, and spinach. Increasing your intake of these foods, along with beetroot juice, may help lower blood pressure.
Coles LT, Clifton PM. Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition Journal 2012 Dec; 11:106
Ghosh SM et al. Enhanced vasodilator activity of nitrite in hypertension. Hypertension 2013 Apr. 15
Hobbs DA et al. Blood pressure-lowering effects of beetroot juice and novel beetroot-enriched bread products in normotensive male subjects. British Journal of Nutrition 2012 Dec 14; 108(11): 2066-74