Beet­root juice re­duces blood pres­sure

Lesotho Times - - Health -

LONDON — 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 high blood pres­sure 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 green leafy vegetables 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 med­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions and were not tak­ing blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion. 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. Sys­tolic blood pres­sure, 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 beet­root juice 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 blood pres­sure, Ah­luwalia said.

Get­ting peo­ple to eat more fruits and vegetables is chal­leng­ing, but re­sults of the study of­fer hope, she said. “In the UK., 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 Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends eat­ing eight or more fruit and veg­etable serv­ings ev­ery day.— Health24

A study has found that beet­root has other health ben­e­fits: drink­ing 500ml of beet­root juice a day may sig­nif­i­cantly lower blood pres­sure.

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