Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

SimpleScience@Heart: A cup of beetroot juice a day may help lower blood pressure

Published: 3:00 pm CDT, April 15, 2013

You’ve heard the adage: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, the same may one day be said about beetroot juice.

In a preliminary study, people with high blood pressure who drank a cup of beetroot juice each day had a 10 mm Hg decrease in blood pressure over the following 24 hours.

Beetroot contains nitrate, which while in your body changes to a chemical called nitrite and then to nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is a gas that opens up blood vessels and aids blood flow.

Scientists aren’t yet saying that supplementing your diet with beetroot juice benefits your health over the long term. But foods rich in dietary nitrate — like green leafy vegetables — should be part of a healthy diet. That’s especially the case for the more than 77 million U.S. adults with high blood pressure — a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

 

What do blood pressure numbers mean?

Systolic blood pressure, the top and highest number in a measurement, is pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom and lower number, is pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

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