A study found that blood pressure was lowered within 24 hours in people who took nitrate tablets, and people who drank beet root juice.
A new research from Queen Mary University of London has revealed that the nitrate content of beet root juice is the underlying cause of its blood pressure lowering benefits.
The study found that blood pressure was lowered within 24 hours in people who took nitrate tablets, and people who drank beet root juice.
Study author Amrita Ahluwalia, professor of Vascular Biology at Queen Mary's William Harvey Research Institute, said the investigation was able to demonstrate that the nitrate found in beet root juice was the cause of its beneficial effects upon cardiovascular health by increasing the levels of the gas nitric oxide in the circulation.
"We gave inorganic nitrate capsules or beet root juice to healthy volunteers and compared their blood pressure responses and the biochemical changes occurring in the circulation," professor Ahluwalia said.
"We showed that beet root and nitrate capsules are equally effective in lowering blood pressure indicating that it is the nitrate content of beet root juice that underlies its potential to reduce blood pressure. We also found that only a small amount of juice is needed - just 250ml - to have this effect, and that the higher the blood pressure at the start of the study the greater the decrease caused by the nitrate.
"Our previous study two years ago found that drinking beet root juice lowered blood pressure; now we know how it works," professor Ahluwalia added.
The study has been published online in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.