Can regular consumption of beetroot help regulate blood pressure?
By Dr. Bijesh BDS, Head of Research and Medical Affairs @ candok.in
Blood pressure: Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Arteries carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body and veins carry deoxygenated blood from different parts of the body for purification. Blood pressure usually rises and falls throughout the day. It is measured in two numbers. First is systolic blood pressure that measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. Second is called diastolic blood pressure, it’s the pressure on your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
Causes of Blood Pressure: Smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, too much salt in the diet, stress, alcohol consumption are known to increase blood pressure. Some other factors that influence blood pressure are the cardiac output, peripheral vascular resistance, elasticity of blood vessels and viscosity of blood. But what if there is a way the rising blood pressure can be controlled and in some cases even reversed by making small changes to the lifestyle.
Role of diet in managing Blood pressure: Diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Foods rich in nitrates may help in reducing high blood pressure. Foods rich in nitrates include dark green leafy vegetables like the beetroots, swiss chard, basil, butter leaf lettuce, rhubarb and arugula.
We researched and here is what we found, a diet rich in nitrate lowers blood pressure. Both raw beets juice and cooked beets were found to be effective at lowering high blood pressure.
Beetroot contains high nitrate (NO3), which the body converts into biologically active nitrite(NO2) and nitrous oxide(NO). Other leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbages, also have high levels of nitrates which are directly taken from soil.
The Study Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective and anti-platelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite was carried on 14 healthy subjects who were asked to drink beetroot juice 500ml or water. Blood pressure was measured every 15 min for I hour pre- and 3 hr post bert root ingestion.
“BP began to decrease from 1h following ingestion of juice compared to the control group that had water. The peak difference in systolic BP was achieved at 2.5h following ingestion with a drop of 10.4±3.0 mmHg (P<0.01), whilst the peak differences in diastolic BP and MAP were seen at 3h post ingestion, with changes of 8.1±2.1 mmHg and 8.0±2.1 mmHg respectively”
The benefits of nitrates will include reduced rates of heart diseases, healthy life, improved sexual function and better blood supply to the brain. Those consuming beetroot should be aware that they may notice a little extra pink colour in urine and red stool that’s not to be concerned with.
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Are you on medication for hypertension: If you are medications for hypertension, consult your physician or a dietitian who could evaluate your current condition and recommend appropriate diet and lifestyle changes to bring your high blood pressure under control. Dietary changes can bring remarkable changes and it is recommended that your physician is involved to monitor and taper medications as required.
Your will to incorporate small changes to diet and lifestyle can lead to a healthier life; live life, naturally!
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Understanding and applying Nutrition Series. Edited by Candok Editorial Board, Candok Lifestyle. Live Life, Naturally!
Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective and anti-platelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite; Andrew J Webb, Nakul Patel, Stavros Loukogeorgakis, Mike Okorie, Zainab Aboud, Shivani Misra, Rahim Rashid, Philip Miall, John Deanfield, Nigel Benjamin, Raymond MacAllister, Adrian J Hobbs, and Amrita Ahluwalia