Blood pressure naturally falls and rises throughout the day but consistently high blood pressure poses grave health risks. That’s because the “force and friction of high blood pressure damages the delicate tissues inside the arteries”, warns the American Heart Association (AHA). This provides an opening for fatty clumps called cholesterol to form inside your arteries – a process that can hike your risk of having a heart attack.
Fortunately, you can reverse this deadly mechanism by overhauling your diet.
Specific items have been shown to lower high blood pressure, thereby staving off the risk of serious heart problems.
Beetroot juice has been shown to perform this important function. Its effect is attributed to its nitrate content: studies to date suggest that dietary nitrate acutely lowers blood pressure in healthy humans.
The aim of one study was to conduct a randomised controlled trial with adults to investigate if consuming beetroot juice in addition to a normal diet produces a measurable reduction in blood pressure.
Overall, there was a trend to lower systolic blood pressure at six hours after drinking beetroot juice relative to placebo, the researchers found.
What’s more, an analysis in men only demonstrated a “significant” reduction in systolic blood pressure of 4–5 mmHg at six hours after drinking beetroot juice.
“Beetroot juice will lower BP in men when consumed as part of a normal diet in free-living healthy adults,” the researchers concluded.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure – what these numbers mean
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
According to the NHS, healthy adults aged over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
“If you’re at an increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have your blood pressure checked more often, ideally once a year,” advises the health body.
“Having this done is easy and could save your life.”