According the Australian Bureau of Statistics approximately 1 in 10 Australians suffers from elevated blood pressure.
New research has shown that 1 cup (250mL) of beetroot juice is able to significantly reduce blood pressure within 3-6 hours after consumption, with blood pressure remaining lowered for up to 24 hours! How can a cup of beetroot juice do this? It all comes down to the Nitrates.
Many of my clients have heard me talk about the negative health effects of nitrates used in processed meat, also known as sodium nitrate. This is different. Nitrates in beetroot juice have the chemical formulation of NO3, which is then converted to NO2 through interactions with enzymes found in your saliva. This is then broken down further to nitric oxide (NO). This then results in widened blood vessels, thus increased blood flow…which then results in reduced blood pressure.
So, does this mean I can use any beetroot juice? The studies that have been done are mostly using the brand ‘Beet It’, however it can also work by consuming vegetables that contain the compound, obviously beetroot is a great source! A great alternative is using ‘Beet It Organic’ shots, which contain 300mg of nitrate per 70mL shot; an easy, convenient way to make sure you’re getting the nitrates, without having to worry about having a whole cup of beetroot juice! Otherwise, it looks like Mum was right when she was telling you to eat your greens! Consumption of approximately 125g of green leafy veggies such as spinach, rocket and lettuce, celery, parsley and Chinese cabbage to get the same quantity of nitrate found in 1 Beet It shot are a great idea, and provide you with a wide variety of other nutrients.
Which do I recommend, Beet It or veggies? Whilst I always recommend ensuring you consume an adequate amount of fresh veggies, for those trying to reduce their blood pressure, Beet It provides an easy alternative on the days where that may not be possible. But this is still no excuse to not eat your veggies!
Interestingly enough, Beet It was not originally formulated for blood pressure reduction, rather as an aid to improve athletic performance. Come back in a couple of weeks for another update on how great it is for sports performance!
Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
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