How a regular glass of beetroot juice could be the key to beating high blood pressure
Just 100g of beetroot found to have a significant phyiscal effect that lasted at least 13 hoursNitrate content in vegetable improves blood flow
08:38 GMT, 23 March 2012
Beetroot has a high nitrate content, which encourages blood flow when consumed
Drinking a daily glass of beetroot juice could be the key to preventing high blood pressure, researchers say.
A team from the University of Reading found that even small doses of beetroot juice lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure (BP), or hypertension, increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, the leading causes of death in the UK.
Previous studies showed that drinking 500ml of beetroot juice led to a reduction in blood pressure over 24 hours. However, the latest study sought to find whether the same effect could be gained from a smaller and more drinkable dose.
They found consuming just 100g caused a significant lowering of blood pressure in the short-term (0 to 4 hours) and longer term (0 to 13 hours).
Bread enriched with a similar dose of both white and red beetroot also reduced the level by a similar margin.
This effect is attributed to the high nitrate content of the beetroot, a chemical that when ingested becomes nitric oxide which increases blood flow and keeps our blood pressure (BP) low.
The study also looked at the impact of betalains, the pigment responsible for the deep red colour of beets. Researchers found red and white beetroot, which does not contain betalain, had an equal effect.
Professor Julie Lovegrove, of the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at Reading, said: 'This new data strengthens the evidence for a beneficial effect of nitrate-rich foods in lowering BP, even at relatively low levels of dosage.
'Processing beetroot during bread production did not significantly impact on the effects of reducing BP, and our studies suggested that nitrate in beetroot contributed to BP reduction, whereas betalains had minimal impact.
'Further, enriching bread with beetroot may provide a useful vehicle to increase beetroot consumption, particularly for those people at risk of cardiovascular disease.'
The study, Beetroot juice, beetroot enriched bread and blood pressure, appears in the British Journal of Nutrition.
It comes just a day after scientists found bread made from seaweed can help dieters as it makes you feel fuller and reduce the amount you eat during the day.
Men who ate seaweed bread for breakfast consumed 179 fewer calories during a day – equivalent to a treadmill workout, according to a study from Sheffield Hallam University.