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Beetroot juice for high blood pressure

This juice is good for people with high blood pressure because it has nitrate. This chemical makes the blood pressure more stable and thus lessens the chance of getting a heart disease. There was a study where those who participated in taking nitrate capsules ended up with lower blood pressure levels for a short while. However, only nine people were in this research and they were observed for only three hours and the longer outcome of the effect of beetroot juice was unknown.

Where did the story come from?

Two universities in London and one in Plymouth and Exeret have done this kind of a study. BBC News and Daily Mail were the media which were interested in it and the only ones that gave some sort of report about it. However, it was not determined whether beetroot juice actually has an effect on either heart disease or stroke. Because of this it is unknown whether it actually lessens the risk of these diseases.

What kind of research was this?

In this research it was tested whether taking nitrate in either food that contains large amounts of nitrate or by the intake of supplement capsules, has some effect on the blood pressure. Beetroot is rich in nitrate which is turned into nitrite when mixed with saliva and that chemical makes the blood vessels to expand. The point of the research was to find out whether it was the nitrate in beetroot juice that was responsible for the lowering of blood pressure.

What did the research involve?

The people who participated in the research were old between 18 and 45 and non-smokers. They all had a normal blood pressure and were on no medications. They were each given nitrate containing capsules, capsules that had no nitrate in them, beetroot juice or water.This study consists of three parts. A volunteer was given two different treatments in a random order in each part. Three parts of the study compared potassium nitrate capsules and potassium chloride capsules within 21 volunteers in the first part. In this part neither the volunteers nor the researchers knew which type of capsule was given to who. The second part compared a lower dose capsule of potassium nitrate and a higher dose of potassium nitrate capsule in six volunteers which were added. In this part everybody knew which capsule was given to who. In the final part 250 ml of beetroot juice and water was given to nine different volunteers. These volunteers were then monitored for three hours after each drink.

What were the basic results?

Nitrate capsules increased nitrite levels in the blood and therefore lessened the blood pressure in a period of 24 hours in comparison to the potassium chloride capsules. Women, who had lower blood pressure than men at the beginning showed a smaller decrease in blood pressure than men. Beetroot juice increased more of the levels of nitrite than water in the three hours while the volunteers were monitored.

In the end, the researchers concluded that intake of nitrate supplements or nitrate rich foods actually lower the blood pressure. Some things remain unclear because only nine people drank beetroot juice, and they all had normal blood pressure and were monitored for just three hours.

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