Are you looking to replace blood pressure-lowering drugs with natural, diet-based solutions? Complimenting past findings, recent research reveals that drinking a single glass of beetjuice juice daily may just be enough to lower blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension. In fact, this simple juice can lead to a ‘significant’ reduction in blood pressure.
For the research, Amrita Ahluwalia, a vascular pharmacology professor at QMUL, and her research team analyzed the effects of both beetroot juice and a placebo on 64 individuals aged 18-85. Half of the patients were taking prescribed medication for high blood pressure but were not managing to reach their target blood pressure, and the rest had been diagnosed with high blood pressure but were not yet taking medication for it.
One group consumed a daily glass (250 ml or around 8.5 oz) of beetroot juice, while the other group had nitrate-free (the placebo) beetroot juice. The nitrates is what is believed to be reducing blood pressure, In the human body, inorganic nitrate converts to nitric oxide, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels.
During the 4 week period of drinking the beetroot juice, participants in the non-placebo group experienced a reduction in blood pressure of 8/4 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). In the 2 weeks after the trial had ended, the patients’ blood pressure returned to their previous levels.
This group also experienced a 20% improvement “in blood vessel dilation capacity and their artery stiffness reduced by around 10%”. This improvement could also reduce risk for heart disease.
While the group drinking the nitrate-rich beetroot juice saw improvements, there were no changes to blood pressure, blood vessel function, or artery stiffness in the placebo group, whose beetroot juice was nitrate-free.
The authors note that the reduction achieved in the active supplement group is comparable to that of medication; the average reduction in blood pressure that a single anti-hypertension drug brings is 9/5 mmHg.
“This interesting study builds on previous research by this team and finds that a daily glass of beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension – even those whose high blood pressure was not controlled by drug treatment.”
Commenting on the findings, Amrita Ahluwalia, a vascular pharmacology professor at QMUL, says:
“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.”
Related: Health Benefits of Beetroot
She says one reason the findings are exciting is because it’s simply for anyone to increase dietary nitrate.
“It is hugely beneficial for people to be able to take steps in controlling their blood pressure through non-clinical means such as eating vegetables,” Prof. Ahluwalia adds. “We know many people don’t like taking drugs life-long when they feel ok, and because of this, medication compliance is a big issue.”
“The possibility of using a natural product, rather than another pill, to help lower blood pressure, is very appealing,” adds Dr. Amoils.
Full of roughly 20 times more nitrates than most other vegetables, the beetroot may just be a wonder for scientists and dietitians combined as its healing and boosting powers are slowly discovered study by study.
Another 2010 study out of Queen Mary’s University in London showed a correlation between daily intakes of beetroot juice and near-immediate drops in the drinker’s blood pressure. What’s more, it was also found that with higher blood pressure came a greater dip. Another study published in the Nutrition Journal found that “500 grams” of beetroot juice also resulted in a blood pressure drop within just 6 hours after consumption.
Of course there are many dietary venues to take to reduce blood pressure. If you don’t like beetroot juice or would rather go a different route, take a look at these home remedies for high blood pressure.