Beetroot juice for high blood pressure is powerful medicine. Some of its effects relate to the minerals it contains, such as potassium and magnesium, but its true pharmacological action is due to a high content of nitrates.
Drinking Beetroot Juice For High Blood Pressure
When you drink beetroot juice, these nitrates are rapidly converted into nitrites by bacteria (Veillonella and Actinomyces species) that live on the surface of your tongue, and which are also present in saliva. The nitrites are absorbed into your circulation, where they are used to make a gas called nitric oxide (NO). NO is a cell-signaling molecule which has a powerful relaxing effect on small muscle fibers in your blood vessel linings. This causes the blood vessels to dilate so that your blood pressure falls.
The powerful action is also how drugs such as glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) and sildenafil (Viagra) work – and why GTN is notorious for causing a headache. The discovery of how nitric oxide dilates blood vessels was so important for cardiovascular health that the researchers were awarded a Nobel Prize in 1998.
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Research involving 68 people with hypertension showed that drinking a glass (250ml) of beetroot juice every day can lower high blood pressure by, on average, 7.7/5.2 mmHg, within four weeks. These reductions were recorded using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and compared with the effects of drinking a placebo beetroot juice from which the nitrates were extracted.
This showed that the blood pressure lowering effect was due to the nitrates rather than other beetroot components. In those drinking the whole beetroot juice, the ability of blood vessels to dilate (known as endothelial function) improved by around 20% and arterial stiffness was significantly reduced – in other words, drinking beetroot juice can improve the elasticity of your arterial walls.
The benefits were seen within one hour, reached their maximum effect after four hours, and were still evident 24 hours later. These results mean that beetroot juice is at least as effective as many prescribed anti-hypertensive medications.
A Healthy Liver:
Consuming beet juice is also a great tonic for cleansing the liver. Why cleanse the liver? With an increase in toxins within the body the liver takes a hit. A toxic liver will actually increase your blood pressure. Take for example the analogy of a car that has sludge built up in the oil system.
This sludge actually can cause the engine to work harder but perform below average. With a toxic liver, your blood becomes like that sludge. Your heart has to work harder to pump the blood throughout your body. Cleansing the liver you also cleanse the blood, creating a sludge free happy system that also lowers your blood pressure. There are various recipes out there for juicing, the one I really like can be found here.
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