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New study shows one small glass of juice a day can slash blood pressure

ByReport2

Jul 10, 2024

It is thought one in three adults in the UK are living with a potentially deadly condition – high blood pressure. Also known as hypertension, it means your heart has to work harder than usual to pump blood around your body.

It places extra pressure on the heart, blood vessels and other organs. And if not caught and treated it can have serious consequences, with high blood pressure a major risk factor for medical emergencies such as strokes and heart attacks.

Hypertension can be caused by many lifestyle factors, although it can also be genetic and linked to your age. Diet is one such factor, with eating too much salt one of the main causes of high blood pressure.

Research has shown certain foods and drinks can also help reduce blood pressure. And according to one study, a glass of a day of a specific red drink could do just this.

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Scientists from Queen Mary University of London revealed that drinking beetroot juice daily had a significant effect on blood pressure. More specifically, they found that a 250ml glass of beetroot juice resulted in an average decrease in blood pressure of about 8/4 mmHg.

Within the study, which was published in Hypertension journal, this meant that many of the study participants saw their blood pressure levels return back to a safe range. This is particularly significant as it is believed every 2mmHg increase in blood pressure increases the likelihood of death from heart disease by seven per cent and stroke by 10 per cent.

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Researchers explained that the blood pressure-lowering benefits of beetroot come from high levels of dietary nitrates found in the plant. Other foods rich in nitrates include spinach, rhubarb, celery, lettuce and watercress.

Lead study author Professor Amrita Ahluwalia said in a university release : “Diseases of the heart and blood vessels – which can cause heart attacks and strokes – remain the biggest cause of death worldwide. However, unlike some other serious illnesses, we are fortunate in that we can make certain lifestyle changes which dramatically improve our heart and blood vessel health.

“This research has proven that a daily inorganic nitrate dose can be as effective as medical intervention in reducing blood pressure and the best part is we can get it from beetroot and other leafy green vegetables.”

Dr Shannon Amoils, senior research advisor at the British Heart Foundation, which funded the study, added: “This interesting study builds on previous research by this team and finds that a daily glass of beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension – even those whose high blood pressure was not controlled by drug treatment.

“The possibility of using a natural product, rather than another pill, to help lower blood pressure, is very appealing. The trial is small however, and the 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.”

Separate research, published in Frontiers in Nutrition in 2022, analysed seven existing studies and concluded that nitrates found in beetroot juice reduces systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic blood pressure in patients with arterial hypertension. This meta-analysis found that daily consumption of the juice over 60 days saw best results.

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