A new piece of scientific research published in the American Heart Associationâ€™s journal â€˜Hypertensionâ€™, has found that drinking a daily cup of beetroot juice has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure among patients with high blood pressure.
64 patients aged 18 â€“ 85 years were tested byÂ scientists from Queen Mary University of London, half of whom were already taking prescribed anti-hypertensive drugs. The other half had been identified as having high blood pressure but not yet on medication.
Patients tested in the study drank a 250ml glass of beetroot juice everyday for a month, which is naturally rich in nitrate, and patients with hypertension experienced an average decrease in blood pressure of 8/4 mmHg.
This is substantial given that large-scale observational studies suggest that each 2mmHg increase in blood pressure increases the likelihood of death from heart disease by 7% and strokes by 10%.
Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, Lead Author at Queen Mary University of London said:Â â€œWeâ€™ve now tested the effectiveness of dietary nitrate in reducing blood pressure in 64 patients, over a sustained period of time, and found it works.â€
â€œIt is hugely beneficial for people to be able to take steps in controlling their blood pressure through non-clinical means such as eating vegetables. We know many people donâ€™t like taking drugs life-long when they feel ok, and because of this, medication compliance is a big issue.â€
The study also saw patients already taking one-to-four other blood pressure medications experience a further drop in their blood pressure.
Patients in the intervention group also experienced an improvement of around 20%in blood vessel dilation capacity and around a 10% reduction in arterial stiffness. These changes in blood vessel function have been shown, by other studies, to be associated with substantial reductions in heart disease.
Dr Shannon Amoils, Senior Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, which funded the study, said: â€œThe possibility of using a natural product, rather than another pill, to help lower blood pressure, is very appealing.â€
â€œThe next step will be to see if this result can be repeated in a much larger group of people with high blood pressure and over a longer period of time.â€