High blood pressure: Drinking one glass of this juice a day could lower your reading
High blood pressure puts a strain on your artery walls as blood thumps against them even harder when travelling through the body. After repeated exposure to high blood pressure, arteries can narrow and become stiff, increasing blood pressure even further. To help prevent this, there’s one juice you need to be drinking, research suggests.
A major trial carried out at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) found beetroot juice can significantly reduce blood pressure readings.
Published in the medical journal Hypertension, the study – funded by the British Heart Foundation – built upon previous research and added to the evidence showcasing how beetroot juice lowers blood pressure.
Even people in the Middle Ages used beetroot to treat ailments relating to blood and digestion.
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Professor Amrita Ahluwalia of the vascular pharmacology department at QMUL and her colleagues recruited 64 people aged between 18 and 85 years old to take part in the trial.
Half of the participants were taking prescribed medication for high blood pressure and still hadn’t reached their target blood pressure, and the other half had been diagnosed with high blood pressure but weren’t taking any medication for it.
The method for the trial consisted of randomly assigning participants to one of two groups: those who consumed a 250ml glass of beetroot juice and those who consumed the same beverage, except the beetroot juice was nitrate-free.
It’s critical to note here beetroot contains high levels of dietary nitrate (NO3), which the body converts into biologically active nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO).
Prior research has shown that in the human body, NO relaxes and dilates blood vessels – making it easier for blood to travel to different organs.
Both groups consumed the juice daily for four weeks. They were also monitored for two weeks before and after the trial, bringing the total study period to two months.
The trial was double-blind, which means neither the administering clinicians nor the patients knew whether the beetroot juice they were given was the placebo (beetroot juice with no nitrate) or normal beetroot juice (that contains nitrates).
Finding reveal within the four-week period patients who were drinking normal beetroot juice – that contained nitrate –experienced a reduction in blood pressure of 8/4mmHg.
The same group also experienced around 20 percent improvement in blood vessel dilation capacity, and their artery stiffness reduced by about 10 percent.
In the placebo group there were no changes in blood pressure, blood vessel function, or artery stiffness.
Also noteworthy was that in the two weeks after the group who consumed nitrate-rich beetroot stopped drinking the juice, their blood pressure returned to the higher levels noted at the beginning of the study.
Additionally, the authors of the study noted that the reduction in blood pressure readings achieved by drinking nitrate-rich beetroot juice is close to that achieved by medication.
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To illustrate, the average reduction in blood pressure caused by a single anti-hypertension drug is 9/5mmHg.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Ahluwalia said: “These findings suggest a role for dietary nitrate as an affordable, readily-available, adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension.
“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.”
To get the most nitrate intake as possible from vegetables, Professor Ahluwalia advises not to boil them as nitrate dissolves in the water.
Instead, “steaming, roasting, or drinking in a juice” is the best way forward.
The next step is to conduct an even bigger study to replicate the findings over a longer period of time with a larger group of people who have high blood pressure.
This way, mounting evidence of the benefits of nitrate-rich beetroot on blood pressure could potentially lead to more treatment options.
Current research on this subject has been promising, so drinking a glass of beetroot juice everyday really could lower your blood pressure reading.
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