Beetroot juice shown to lower blood pressure

One quick way to lower your blood pressure could be as simple as drinking a glass of beetroot juice, according to a new study.

Researchers from Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found that within hours of drinking beetroot juice, a group of healthy men saw their blood pressure drop by an average of four to five points. The study was published last week in Nutrition Journal.

While that number may seem small, WebMD writes that "on a public health level a reduction like that would equate to a 10% reduction in deaths due to heart disease."

"It's promising that we can see an effect from a single dose," researcher Dr. Leah Coles told WebMD. "That effect might be even greater over the long term if they are drinking it day upon day."

The study involved 15 men and 15 women who drank 17.6 ounces (about 520 mL) of a drink containing about three-fourths beetroot juice and one-fourth apple juice or a placebo drink. Among both men and women, blood pressure levels dropped six hours after drinking the beet juice. But it was the men who saw the most significant difference, an average of about 4.7 points among the beetroot juice drinkers.

The study supports another published in March in the British Journal of Nutrition that found that beetroot juice was able to reduce blood pressure in a group of 18 male participants as soon as three hours after consumption.

While beetroots contain heart-healthy compounds like vitamins C and K, fiber and polyphenols, scientists say it's the high nitrate content that's likely responsible for the ability to reduce blood pressure.

Access the new study: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/11/1/106/abstract

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