A cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce your blood pressure, according to a small study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
According to researchers from Barts Health NHS Trust and the London Medical School, high blood pressure patients who volunteered to drink 250ml of beetroot juice daily registered a drop of 10mm of mercury (mmHg).
A previous study involving participants with normal blood pressure, three years ago, also suggested there could be health benefits to drinking juice that contains nitrate -- a chemical that reduces blood pressure.
However, in a statement, lead author of the study Dr Amrita Ahluwalia pointed out that those more at risk of a stroke or heart disease, caused by high blood pressure, may also benefit.
“We were surprised by how little nitrate was needed to see such a large effect,” Ahluwalia said.
“This study shows that compared to individuals with healthy blood pressure much less nitrate is needed to produce the kinds of decreases in blood pressure that might provide clinical benefits in people who need to lower their blood pressure.
"However, we are still uncertain as to whether this effect is maintained in the long term.”
In a statement, researchers highlighted that Beetroot juice contains dietary nitrate, which may help relax blood vessel walls and improve blood flow.
Increasing intake of foods rich in dietary nitrate may be an affordable and attainable way to manage blood pressure, they added.
“Our hope is that increasing one’s intake of vegetables with a high dietary nitrate content, such as green leafy vegetables or beetroot, might be a lifestyle approach that one could easily employ to improve cardiovascular health,” said Ahluwalia.