April 16, 2013

Beetroot Can Lower Blood Pressure

Beet Root Plant
Beet Root Plant

By Isaac Muhumure

Drinking 250ml (8oz) cut high blood pressure readings by 10mm of mercury (mmHg) in a study of 15 patients, bringing some into the normal range.Scientists say the nitrate in beetroot widens blood vessels to aid flow. And many people with angina use a nitrate drug to ease their symptoms. “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.”

The researchers, from Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Medical School, who have been studying beetroot’s blood pressure lowering effects for years, say more work is still needed.

And they warn there could be one unexpected consequence of drinking beetroot juice – it can turn your urine pink.

Researcher Dr Amrita Ahluwalia said: “We were surprised by how little nitrate was needed to see such a large effect.

“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.”

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, said: “It supports current advice that we should all be eating plenty of green veg.

“But we need larger studies in patients to determine if nitrate-rich vegetables are effective at lowering blood pressure over the long term.”

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