High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the leading health risk factor in the world. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to a 70% increase in having a stroke and does not usually have any symptoms, which makes it a silent killer in the repository of ailments. In an evolving era of holistic healing, old discoveries about the health benefits of certain fruits and vegetables are resurfacing. According to a recent research, drinking a single glass of beetroot juice daily has a myriad of benefits, including a significant reduction in blood pressure.
This extensive research, led by Amrita Ahluwalia and her team, focused on the analysis of the effects of beetroot juice on 64 individuals ranging in age from 18 to 85. Some of the participants drank a glass of beetroot juice daily over a period of four weeks and experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure. Considering that beets are a staple at regular grocery stores, it seems the remedy for hypertension might be closer than the doctor’s office.
What is considered healthy blood pressure?
Blood pressure readings are often offered at the drugstore and can also be easily done at a physician’s office or walk-in clinic. The reading has two numbers, which represent your systolic (first, or top, number) and your diastolic (the second number) blood pressures. When your heart beats, it contracts and pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of the body. This force creates pressure on the arteries–this is the systolic blood pressure. The diastolic blood pressure indicated the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
Healthy blood pressure is considered to be less than 120 over 80 (120/80).
What causes high blood pressure?
There are a myriad of reasons why your blood pressure might be elevated. The most common are smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, weight and stress, advanced age, and genetics. Some causes are more uncontrollable than others. Menopause causes bad cholesterol to creep up, leading to an elevated risk for heart disease. Your risk for high blood pressure also increases with age; the demographics show men over 45 and women over 55 are more at risk. Genetics and family history is another common cause to watch for.
Where the incredible benefits of beets come in.
Beets contain 20 times more nitrates than other vegetables and is loaded with other vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-oxidants. Another study conducted a few years prior in the Nutrition Journal found that those with higher blood pressure were more immediately impacted and experienced more noticeable blood pressure drop. The study notes the beneficial impact of daily consumption of beetroot juice even on those whose “high blood pressure is not controlled by drug treatment.” This finding proves that something as common and natural as beets can be as effective as prescribed medicine in the treatment of hypertension. The sentiment that improving health conditions through healthy eating echoes once more as Professor Ahluwalia states:
“It is hugely beneficial for people to be able to take steps in controlling their blood pressure through non-clinical means such as eating vegetables.”
Addressing high blood pressure through simple nutrition alleviates, and can possibly eliminate, the risk of stringent medication adherence, along with compounding medication costs.
What else can it do for you?
Other benefits of drinking beetroot juice on a daily basis include an increase in stamina, which improves athletic performance and boosts cardiovascular health, due its high nitrate content. Nitrate is converted to nitrite and a gas called nitric oxide in the body, which increases oxygen flow. Along with lowering high blood pressure, beetroot juice also reduces the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular related diseases.
A simple beetroot recipe to help you beat HBP: (serves one person)
1 small to medium beet
1 – 2 carrots (can be replaced with grapes for a sweeter taste)
1 lime or lemon (if you’re not too fond of the smell)
1 inch of ginger (peeled)
Top off with some turmeric for an energy boost. Stir and enjoy!
Featured photo credit: Beets – Beta vulgaris/swong95765 via flickr.com