A new study published in the American Heart Association’s Hypertension journal concludes that drinking a small amount of fresh, raw beet juice not only lowers high blood pressure quickly and effectively but could also be a natural approach to reducing future cardiovascular problems.
The research was conducted by scientists at London’s Queen Mary University on red beets, called beetroot in Britain. Beets have drawn attention from nutritional scientists in recent years because of their health benefits. Specifically, beets have been found to be rich in betaine, a nutrient which reduces the blood concentration of homocycsteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease and stroke.
In an earlier study conducted two years ago, the same Queen Mary University research team first observed that drinking beet juice lowered blood pressure in test subjects within 24 hours and proved equally as effective as a control group taking nitrate tablets to treat hypertension. The team’s recent study explains why.
During a press conference, study author Amrita Ahluwalia, Professor of Vascular Biology at Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute, said the research team proved the organic form of nitrate found in beet juice is the source of the vegetable’s blood pressure lowering benefits. They showed beet nitrate increased levels of nitric oxide in the circulation. Nitric oxide acts as a biological messenger in the body. Among its functions is to increase blood flow, leading to a lower blood pressure.
Professor Ahluwalia added: “We gave inorganic nitrate capsules or beetroot juice to healthy volunteers and compared their blood pressure responses and the biochemical changes occurring in the circulation. We showed that beetroot and nitrate capsules are equally effective in lowering blood pressure indicating that it is the nitrate content of beetroot juice that underlies its potential to reduce blood pressure. We also found that only a small amount of juice is needed –just 250 ml – to have this effect, and that the higher the blood pressure at the start of the study the greater the decrease caused by the nitrate.”
Professor Ahluwalia also noted that the research is good news for people suffering from high blood pressure who want to use a natural approach to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
IMPORTANT TIP: As the Professor noted, a little beet juice goes a long way so do not overdo it. Also, beet juice should always be mixed with other vegetables because pure beet juice can cause hives and other side effects.
The study can be found at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20585108