If you suffer from chronic hypertension or high blood pressure and you’re looking for natural remedies or ways to lower it or manage it without meds, you may want to add beetroot juice (or beet juice) to your shopping list.
Mounting research and clinical studies show impressive results for how beetroot juice affects blood pressure. The British researchers who conducted the study state that the findings reflect the importance of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Many previous studies have shown that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers blood pressure. Antioxidants usually get the credit, but several recent studies have suggested that nitrates may play a much bigger role in lowering blood pressure.
Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and it has high levels of naturally occurring nitrates. These compounds improve blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, heart and muscles.
When beetroot juice is ingested, nitrate in the beetroot juice is converted by bacteria living on the tongue into the chemical nitrite. Once it enters the stomach, it becomes nitric oxide. When the size of the molecules in the blood vessel increases in size and opens up, more oxygen is allowed to flow, which leads to lower blood pressure. Researchers found that blood pressure was at its lowest when the nitrite levels in the blood were at their highest.
In regards to who should drink beetroot juice or gain the most benefit, the elderly stand to gain a huge advantage. Increasing blood flow to muscles can help improve muscle strength which will, in turn, reduce falls, fractures, and impairment associated with muscle weakness. Blood flow to the brain (as measured by MRI) improved in healthy elderly people who drank a cup of beetroot juice daily.
Research suggests that drinking beetroot juice or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Beetroot juice (or beet juice) should be on the Superfoods list, right next to salmon and blueberries. Its benefits include the following:
• improves blood pressure
• improves blood flow throughout the body (including the brain, heart and muscles)
• boosts stamina to help you exercise longer and improve overall physical performance
• enhances heart functioning during exercise
• fights cancer
• can be a natural approach to preventing constipation
• helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system
Meta-analysis of past studies showed clear reductions in blood pressure with both the yellow and red beetroots. The systolic blood pressure measurement (the number on the top) showed the best reduction. And in some of the studies, men showed better results after ingesting beetroot juice than women. Hormones and/or the use of contraceptive pills were noted as possible factors rendering this outcome.
Gram for gram, it has about 20 times more nitrates than most other vegetables. A London study found that drinking only one glass (250 ml or 1 cup) of beetroot juice a day dramatically lowered blood pressure for several hours. When the volunteers drank the beetroot juice, it reached its lowest point 2.5 to 3 hours after ingestion and continued to have an effect on the blood pressure for up to 24 hours.
For lowering blood pressure, drinking beetroot juice is better than eating the whole food. You lose some of the benefits when we cook the beetroots or pickle them. By juicing, you get 100% of the phytonutrients or plant chemicals needed to help decrease your blood pressure.
Because beetroots are a potent detoxifier, it may be wise to start with a lower dose (like a quarter cup) and gradually increasing the amount you drink but do not drink it every day. You will notice your urine and stools changing to a red color. This color change is harmless.
If you are prone to having oxalate kidney stones, you may want to avoid beetroot juice because it is high in oxalates, especially if you use the leaves of the beets. With all things health-related, you want to consult with your physician. Let your doctor know that you are using natural remedies or drinking beetroot juice to lower your blood pressure. You may find that you need to take less medication to lower your blood pressure after adding beetroot juice to your diet.
Monitor your blood pressure at home several days before, several hours after drinking the beetroot juice, and several days after that to see if you get lower readings. A blood pressure monitor with memory features would make this step easy.
As for the beetroot juice, you can juice the beetroots yourself or purchase the bottled juice for about $7 at a local health food store or online. For at-home juicing, HERE is a good beetroot juice recipe you may find tasty.
Beetroots are very nutritious. They’re rich in potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, and nitrates. Adding beetroot juice to your diet may be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and improve your overall health.