Recent research shows that one small glass of beetroot juice daily can reduce high blood pressure.
Scientists at the University of Reading have discovered that drinking just 100g of beetroot juice can significantly lower the blood pressure in the short term, lasting up to 4 hours, and even 13 hours in some cases.
Bread enriched with either white or red beetroot has proven to have a similar effect.
Studies conducted in the past had revealed that drinking 500ml of beetroot juice could reduce blood pressure over 24 hours. The more recent study was undertaken to find whether or not the same results could be achieved from a smaller dose which would be easier to drink.
While the study consisted only of 39 people, Victoria Taylor – Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation – says that the findings do support earlier research associating the consumption of beetroot juice with lowering blood pressure.
The reduction in blood pressure is accredited to the high nitrate content that beetroot possesses. When ingested, nitrate becomes nitric oxide, a molecule which helps increase blood flow and, in turn, keeps blood pressure down.
The study also looked at the possible impact of betalains, the pigments found in beets that are responsible for the deep red colouring. The research concluded that white beetroot, which contains no betalain, had the same effect on lowering blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases the risk of having a stroke or heart attack, two of the leading causes of death in the United Kingdom. A third of under 65′s and at least 10 million people suffer from high blood pressure without realising it as there are no noticeable symptoms.