Beet juice may lower blood pressure

December 19, 2012

A study published in Nutrition Journal shows that drinking a glass of beet juice may lower blood pressure. Previous studies have shown that beet juice, also known as beetroot juice, can lower blood pressure in a laboratory setting. But researchers say this is the first study to look at the effects of adding beet juice to a healthy person’s diet without making any other diet or lifestyle changes.

In the study, 15 men and 15 women drank either 17.6-oz of a beet juice beverage containing 500 g of beetroot and apple juice, or a placebo juice. The participants had their blood pressure measured at baseline and at least hourly for 24 hrs following juice consumption using an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. In addition, they remained at the clinic for 1 hr before resuming normal non-strenuous daily activities. The same procedure was repeated two weeks later, with those who drank the placebo on the first round receiving beetroot juice on the second.

The researchers found that drinking beet juice showed a trend to lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 4–5 points after only 6 hrs for both men and women. Interestingly, when researchers limited their analysis to men only, they found a significant reduction of about 4.7 points among those who drank the beetroot juice.

Researchers theorize that it’s the high concentration of nitrates in beets that are responsible for the benefits. Nitrates from dietary sources like beets and leafy green vegetables are converted to nitric oxide within the body. The nitric oxide then relaxes blood vessels and dilates them, which helps the blood flow more easily and lowers blood pressure.