Beet juice for high blood pressure is powerful medicine. Some of its effects relate to the minerals it contains, such as potassium and magnesium, but its true pharmacological action is due to a high content of nitrates.
In a small study published in 2010 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that adding half a liter of beet juice (also called beetroot juice) to healthy young men’s (ages 19 to 38) diets each day improved their exercise performance and duration.
In another study, published in 2009, endurance athletes saw a similar benefit from beet juice.
Furthermore, another study, published in 2011 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, found that beet juice benefited people ages 54 to 80 who had peripheral vascular disease — a stiffening of the arteries that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach, or kidneys.
Drinking Beet Juice For High Blood Pressure
When you drink beet juice, these nitrates are rapidly converted into nitrites by bacteria (Veillonella and Actinomyces species) that live on the surface of your tongue, and which are also present in saliva.
The nitrites are absorbed into your circulation, where they are used to make a gas called nitric oxide (NO). NO is a cell-signaling molecule which has a powerful relaxing effect on small muscle fibers in your blood vessel linings. This causes the blood vessels to dilate so that your blood pressure falls.
The powerful action is also how drugs such as glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) and sildenafil (Viagra) work – and why GTN is notorious for causing a headache.
The discovery of how nitric oxide dilates blood vessels was so important for cardiovascular health that the researchers were awarded a Nobel Prize in 1998.
Research involving 68 people with hypertension showed that drinking a glass (250ml) of beet juice every day can lower high blood pressure by, on average, 7.7/5.2 mmHg, within four weeks.
These reductions were recorded using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and compared with the effects of drinking a placebo beet juice from which the nitrates were extracted.
This showed that the blood pressure lowering effect was due to the nitrates rather than other beetroot components.
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In those drinking the whole beetroot juice, the ability of blood vessels to dilate (known as endothelial function) improved by around 20% and arterial stiffness was significantly reduced – in other words, drinking beet juice can improve the elasticity of your arterial walls.
The benefits were seen within one hour, reached their maximum effect after four hours, and were still evident 24 hours later. These results mean that beetroot juice is at least as effective as many prescribed anti-hypertensive medications.
A Healthy Liver:
Consuming beet juice is also a great tonic for cleansing the liver. Why cleanse the liver? With an increase in toxins within the body the liver takes a hit.
A toxic liver will actually increase your blood pressure. Take for example the analogy of a car that has sludge built up in the oil system.
This sludge actually can cause the engine to work harder but perform below average. With a toxic liver, your blood becomes like that sludge. Your heart has to work harder to pump the blood throughout your body.
Cleansing the liver you also cleanse the blood, creating a sludge free happy system that also lowers your blood pressure. There are various recipes out there for juicing, the one I really like can be found here.
Click Here To Read more about beet juice and liver cleansing.
Beet juice and diabetes
Some people, who are diabetic, will tend to stay away from this juice. The reason cited is the sugar content in beets. So I did some poking around to see what I could find.
For the over-weight beet-juice drinkers, insulin resistance was improved and blood sugar didn’t go up as much in the 60 to 90 minutes after consuming the sugar—compared to when they rinsed with mouthwash first. Their insulin resistance and blood sugar still were slightly higher than in their nonobese counterparts, but it was a big improvement for them.
That’s a key benefit, since elevated insulin resistance plus high blood sugar, over time, increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For the obese, who likely started with low nitric oxide levels, drinking beet juice apparently boosted nitric oxide levels high enough to help them better metabolize sugar.
Obese adults at risk of developing insulin resistance may benefit from adding healthful nitrate-rich foods—including a glass of beet juice—to their meals.
What about the sugar naturally contained in beet juice itself? It’s true that there’s a lot of sugar in beets—and even more in beet juice. But evidence suggests that the physiological benefits outweigh the sugar—just make sure you skip less healthy sources of sugar such as soda, candy, and other sweets. You can also experiment with other nitrate-rich foods, such as spinach.
If you have any questions or concerns please consult your health care physician. Also, I think it is always a smart practice to let those who provide for your healthcare to know any changes you are making to your health regimen. Most physicians will be happy with the changes you are making.
How to make beet juice
There are a variety of beets juice recipes for you to choose from, but is here is one of my favorites. It is crisp, clean, and powerful.
- 2 large raw beets, peeled
- 3-4 large Gala or Honeycrisp apples
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- a large fistful of organic parsley
- 1 organic lemon, juiced
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1. Place all of the ingredients in the juicer and juice.
Here’s another recipe with Raw Beets, though not juice.
Raw Beet Salad Recipe
This amazing beet salad recipe will aslo help you get the most nitric oxide in your diet. Remember though juicing will get you the maximum. You can juice more beets then you can consume.
- 4 beetroot (500g)
- 4 carrots (400g)
- 1 red onion (100g)
- 1c mint leaves
- 1/4c pumpkin seeds*
- 1/4c sunflower seeds*
- 1/2c raisins
- Orange Balsamic Dressing
- 1 orange (peel removed)
- 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp chia seed oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Cracked black pepper to taste
1. Wash and scrub the beetroot and carrots, and slice off any rough bits. You don’t need to peel them, especially if they’re organic, as a lot of nutrients are in fact in the skin.
2. Slice them into match-sticks by slicing them thinly (do the carrots on a diagonal), then grab a bunch of slices and lay them flat and chop into matchsticks.
3. Now that’s the hard way – if you have a grater or a mandolin you can also use that, or easier still a food processor with a grating attachment or chopping function. I’ve sliced them manually above though to show you it can be done (and looks quite nice!).
4. Thinly slice the red onions and mix together with the remaining ingredients, reserving a few mint leaves, seeds and raisins to sprinkle on top.
5. If you’re using dried and activated seeds they’ll be crunchy already so add as is, otherwise pop your seeds in a pan on low heat for 5 minutes, shaking regularly until they just start to go brown and aromatic.
6. Blend the dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, then mix through the salad.
7. Sprinkle with reserved mint, seeds and raisins and serve!
We collected dozens of great heart healthy recipes for you – Here they are…