A study found that daily consumption of beetroot juice lowered blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Published in the journal Hypertension, the double-blind study administered around 1 cup of beetroot juice (250 ml) per day, or a placebo, to 64 participants with high blood pressure for four weeks. The placebo consisted of nitrate-depleted beetroot juice, as the researchers suspected the therapeutic effects of beets came from their naturally occurring nitrate content. Nitrate is known to be a potent vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels. Here’s what the researchers discovered by the end of the trial:
Regardless of whether blood pressure was measured in the clinic, at home, or through ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), those consuming the nitrate-rich beetroot juice experienced a clinically significant reduction in blood pressure relative to their baseline levels at the start of the study. The placebo group didn’t experience any reductions in blood pressure.
When measured in the clinic and via ABPM, the average systolic blood pressure reduction was 7.7 mmHg. When measured at home, the reduction in systolic blood pressure was 8.1 mmHg. The “mmHg” refers to millimeters of mercury—the unit used to measure blood pressure.
Average diastolic blood pressure reductions were 2.4 mmHg when measured in the clinic, 5.2 mmHg when measured via ABPM, and 3.8 mmHg when measured at home.
Endothelial function also improved by 20% in the group consuming beetroot juice with nitrate; arterial stiffness improved as well. Endothelial dysfunction is a predictor of stroke and heart attacks, and has been shown to precede atherosclerosis.
This research demonstrated that beetroot juice lowered blood pressure by the same amount as a single blood pressure medication at a standard dose, regardless of how blood pressure was measured. Nevertheless, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.