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article imageDrinking beetroot juice 'helps lower blood pressure'

By Layne Weiss     Apr 16, 2013 in Health
An 8 oz glass of beetroot juice a day can help reduce blood pressure by 7%, researchers say. The effect is produced by beetroot's high level of nitrates.
High concentration of nitrates can also be found in celery, cabbage, and green leafy vegetables, The Daily Mail reports.
Scientists say that foods like beetroot, which are rich in nitrate widens blood vessels to aid flow, and patients who suffer from angina use a nitrate drug to treat their symptoms, BBC News reports.
Researchers from Barts Heath NHS Trust and London medical school who have been studying the effects which beetroot juice have on lowering blood pressure, say more research is still needed.
They warn there are certain effects of drinking beetroot juice daily. For instance, it can turn your urine pink, but that is fairly minor.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Amrita Ahluwalia said she and her colleagues were quite surprised by how little nitrate was needed to see an effect in blood pressure.
"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," Dr. Ahluwalia said according to The Daily Mail.
Beetroot juice can be found at most health food stores and costs around 2 euros a bottle.
According to The Daily Mail, the study involved seven men and eight women with systolic pressure between 149 and 159 mm Hg who were not on any blood pressure medication.
The participants drank either 250ml of beetroot juice or water containing a small amount of nitrate and had their blood pressure monitored for 24 hours. Those drinking the beetroot juice cut their systolic pressure by about 10 mm Hg. The effect was most most noticeable 3-6 hours after drinking the juice, but still present 24 hours later.
Prof. Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which funded this research said it supports current advice that everyone's diet should be rich in green veggies, BBC News reports.
"We need larger studies in patients to determine if nitrate-rich vegetables are effective at lowering blood pressure over the long term," he said.
An article written for Digital Journal in 2010, looks a similar effects of beetroot juice. Due to its strong flavor, the article advises mixing the beetroot with other juices such as carrot, apple, celery, cucumber, and/or pineapple. Many people get creative with various combinations.
More about beetroot juice, Blood pressure, Health, Hypertension, Nitrate
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