Drinking one cup of beetroot juice a day can significantly lower blood pressure, according to researchers from Queen Mary University of London.
The new research found that patients with high blood pressure who drank 250ml of beetroot juice every day had their blood pressures reduced to within a normal range – typically a decrease of 8/4 mmHg. The report’s authors have attributed the effect to the high levels of inorganic nitrate found within leafy green vegetables, including beetroot.
Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, the research’s lead author, said: “Diseases of the heart and blood vessels – which can cause heart attacks and strokes – remain the biggest cause of death worldwide. However, unlike some other serious illnesses, we are fortunate in that we can make certain lifestyle changes which dramatically improve our heart and blood vessel health. This research has proven that a daily inorganic nitrate dose can be as effective as medical intervention in reducing blood pressure and the best part is we can get it from beetroot and other leafy green vegetables.”
The study suggests that dietary nitrate supplementation has a role to play in the long-term reduction of blood pressure. The trial used a group of 64 adults between the ages of 18 and 85, half of whom were failing to reach their target blood pressure on prescribed hypertensive medication and half of whom were identified with unmedicated high blood pressure.
As well as the role that it can play in reducing blood pressure, the beetroot juice also helped to improve blood vessel dilation capacity by roughly 20% and arterial stiffness by roughly 10%. There were no benefits reported among the placebo group.
Professor Ahluwalia added: “These findings are exciting because we’ve now tested the effectiveness of dietary nitrate in reducing blood pressure in 64 patients, over a sustained period of time, and found it works. Plus it’s so easy for patients to work this into their daily lives and see a positive benefit. The next step will hopefully be to run a large-scale Phase Three clinical trial so we can determine whether the impact of dietary nitrate is sustained long-term, and whether this should be recommended in NHS guidelines.”
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