How exactly does beet juice lower blood pressure? This article takes you through the various benefits of beetroot juice, including how it can help lower blood pressure levels.
High blood pressure is a significant health concern globally. It can lead to heart disease and other serious health conditions.
However, you can lower this condition with exercise and changes in diet. One food that has been studied for its potential effect on blood pressure is beet juice.
What is Beet Juice?
Beet juice is a popular health drink that is made by juicing beets.
Beets are a source of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium.
They are also a good source of vitamins A and C. The health benefits of beet juice include improved blood circulation, low blood pressure, increased energy levels, reduced inflammation, increased ability to fight cancer, and many more.
Beet juice can be enjoyed on its own or added to smoothies or other juices.
Beet Juice Nutrition
A cup of beet juice (136 grams) can provide about:
- Calories: 58.5
- Carbohydrates: 13 grams
- Protein: 2.2 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 3.8 grams
- Folate: 148 micrograms, or 37 percent of the recommended daily value (DV)
- Manganese: 0.4 milligrams, or 22 percent (DV)
- Potassium: 442 milligrams, or 13 percent (DV)
- vitamin C: 6.7 milligrams, or 11 percent (DV)
- magnesium: 31.3 milligrams, or 8 percent (DV)
- iron: 1.1 milligrams, or 6 percent (DV)
- vitamin B6: 0.1 milligrams, or 5 percent (DV)
- phosphorus: 54.4 milligrams, or 5 percent (DV)
- copper: 0.1 milligrams, or 5 percent (DV)
Why Does Beet Juice Lower Blood Pressure?
1. It’s rich in antioxidants
Beetroot is rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. These substances are thought to play a role in the development of many diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Beetroot is among the top ten plants with the highest antioxidant activity.
The most potent antioxidant in beetroot is betalains, especially betanin. Others include ferulic acid, rutin, kaempferol, and caffeic acid.
These antioxidants can help reduce tissue and cell damage throughout the body, including in the arteries. This can reduce the stiffness in the arteries and make it easier for blood to flow through them, thus lowering blood pressure.
2. Beet juice is rich in nitrates
Beet juice also contains nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide helps relax and widen your blood vessels, further lowering your blood pressure.
3. Beet juice can reduce inflammation
The link between inflammation and blood pressure is well-established, and there are a number of ways that inflammation can increase your blood pressure.
One way that inflammation increases blood pressure is by causing the release of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that cause inflammation, and they can also cause the constriction of blood vessels. This leads to an increase in blood pressure.
Another way is by causing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the body’s ability to detoxify them. This can damage cells and lead to the constriction of blood vessels, again leading to increased blood pressure.
Also, when you’re chronically inflamed, your body is in a constant state of fight-or-flight mode. This means that your sympathetic nervous system is always activated, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Beet juice has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
4. Beetroot juice is high in potassium
Potassium a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. When your body has too much sodium, it retains water, and your blood pressure rises. But having enough potassium helps your body eliminate excess sodium and lowers blood pressure.
Other Benefits of Beetroot Juice
1. Beetroot juice may benefit patients with heart failure
Heart failure is a chronic condition that affects the heart muscle, so they are inefficient in pumping enough blood to meet your body’s requirements.
In one study, researchers wanted to know if patients with heart failure could experience the same muscle-strengthening effects as seen in athletes after taking beetroot juice.
To ascertain this, researchers took a small study of 9 patients with heart failure and put them on beetroot juice.
One group was put on beetroot juice containing nitrate content, while the other group drank beet juice whose nitrate had been removed.
Two hours after taking the juice, patients that took beet juice containing nitrates had a 13% increased muscle power, especially when they moved at the highest speed.
This shows that using beetroot juice as a supplement for people with heart failure can boost their health and well-being.
2. Beetroot juice can fight cancer
When it comes to cancer-fighting foods, beetroot juice is often overlooked. But this humble vegetable juice has some powerful cancer-fighting properties.
For one, beetroot juice is a great source of antioxidants. These nutrients help protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer.
Additionally, beetroot juice contains several compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer effects in test-tube and animal studies.
One such compound is betanin, which is responsible for the red color of beetroot juice.
Betanin has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and promote apoptosis (cell death) in test-tube studies.
In a different study, betanin was shown to act as a carcinogen in human lung cancer.
3. Beetroot juice can prevent respiratory issues
The nitrates in beetroot can help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow. This can help relax the airway and improve breathing. Beetroot juice is also a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect the lungs from damage. Additionally, the high levels of vitamins A and C in beetroot juice can help boost the immune system, and the flavonoids in the juice can protect against viral infections.
4. Beet juice can promote eye health
While many people think of carrots when it comes to eye health, beet juice can also be beneficial.
Beet juice contains a number of nutrients that can promote eye health. These include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All of these nutrients are important for maintaining healthy vision.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the eyes from damage caused by free radicals. Lutein and zeaxanthin are both carotenoids that can help filter out harmful blue light. They also help to improve night vision and protect against age-related macular degeneration.
5. Helps lower dementia
The vasodilating properties of beetroot help relax and widen blood vessels. This can improve blood flow throughout the body, including to the brain, which can prevent age-related cognitive decline and lower the risk of conditions like dementia.
In one study, older people were put on a high nitrate diet, including beetroot juice, after which their cerebral perfusion was measured using magnetic resonance imaging.
Results showed that the high nitrate intake increased perfusion in brain regions associated with cognitive processes associated with cognitive behaviors.
6. Beetroot juice may treat anemia
Anemia is a condition in which the blood has a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body tissues.
The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. When the body does not have enough iron, it cannot make enough hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
Beetroot juice may treat anemia by increasing the amount of oxygen carried to the body’s tissues.
7. It can lower cholesterol levels
If you have high cholesterol, beet juice can help. It has been shown to contain phytosterols, which are structurally similar to cholesterol and can help lower LDL or bad cholesterol.
Research shows that eating phytosterols as part of a healthy diet can lower cholesterol levels by up to 8-10%.
8. Beet juice is a rich source of potassium
In addition to helping regulate blood pressure, potassium has many other benefits. It is essential for proper muscle function, helps to control fluid balance in the body, and aids in digestion. Potassium also helps prevent strokes and heart attacks by keeping the arteries clear of plaque.
A cup of beet juice can provide up to 13 percent of your recommended daily intake.
9. Beet juice can purify the blood
The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the blood, but it can become overwhelmed. On the other hand, beetroot juice is a powerful detoxifier that can help purify the blood and protect the liver, thus boosting its functions.
The betaine in beetroot can also support liver function and promote waste elimination. It also contains antioxidant properties that can help protect liver cells from damage.
Drinking beetroot juice regularly can help to keep the blood clean and the liver healthy.
Best Juicer For Making Beet Juice?
Juicers vary greatly in mechanics, features, and functionality. What will become your favorite juicer will depend on what you prefer. After years of experimentation, here are a few of my absolute favorite options:
- AMZCHEF Masticating Juicer with Quiet Motor
- Breville Juice Fountain® Cold XL Juicer
- Tribest Greenstar GSE-5010 Elite Slow Masticating Juicer
How to Make Beet Root Juice?
Assuming you have a juicer:
Wash two medium beetroots and cut off the ends. Cut the beetroot into manageable chunks and feed it through your juicer. Include an inch of ginger and juice everything together. Pour into a glass, add 1 tbsp of lemon, and enjoy.
For a smoother juice, you can strain it through a cheesecloth or sieve.
If the juice is too concentrated, dilute it with some water.
You can also include other vegetables like carrots and fruits like an apple to mask the pungent taste of beetroot.
If you don’t have a juicer:
Wash the beetroots and add any other ingredient you may want to include. Roughly chop them into small pieces and add them to a blender with 1 cup of water.
Blend until smooth, then pour into a strainer over a bowl or jug. Use a spoon to push all the pulp through the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Squeeze in half a lemon, then pour into a glass and enjoy!
How To Use Beetroot to Lower Blood Pressure
There are a lot of different opinions on how much beetroot juice you should drink to lower your blood pressure. Some say that as little as two ounces a day can make a difference, while others recommend up to eight ounces.
According to one study, drinking 500ml of beetroot juice per day for four weeks significantly lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Another study found that drinking just 250ml of beetroot juice per day effectively lowered blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
So, if you want to lower your blood pressure with beetroot juice, aiming for 250-500ml per day could be a good place to start.
Nonetheless, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
While it’s generally safe, there are some potential side effects to be aware of, such as an increased risk of kidney stones. And if you’re taking any medications, such as blood thinners, it’s important to make sure there won’t be any adverse interactions.
Beet Juice Side Effects
Beet juice is generally safe to consume, but there are a few potential side effects to be aware of.
Red urine and stool
The most common side effect is that beet juice can cause your urine or stool to turn red or pink. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. If you’re concerned about the color change, simply drink plenty of water and it should dissipate within a day or two.
Too low blood pressure
Another potential side effect is that beet juice can lower blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure or take blood pressure medication, speak with your doctor before consuming beet juice.
Some people may experience an upset stomach after drinking beet juice. If this occurs, try drinking the juice with meals or diluting it with water.
People who are susceptible to kidney stones, like those with a previous history of kidney stones may want to avoid beet juice as it contains high levels of oxalates. This substance can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Beet juice is a natural and safe way to lower your blood pressure.
It has been scientifically proven that consuming beet juice results in lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
While there’s no exactly recommended dose for lowering blood pressure, taking between 250mls-500mls has shown promising results.
However, before adding it to your diet, you should consult your doctor as it may interact with certain medications.
Common side effects of beet juice, like red stool or urine and stomach upset, are often common. Just ensure you’re drinking plenty of water and always consume it in moderate amounts.
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