Beet juice offers several cardiovascular and digestive benefits. But are they effective at lowering blood pressure? Keep reading to find out.
Beets can be a hit or miss amongst eaters. But, like many other foods, spices, and herbs, the root vegetable has been a remedy for circulatory and digestive diseases since the Middle Ages.
Because blood pressure affects a large percentage of the global population, researchers are actively looking for ways to keep hypertension and hypotension under control. For example, beet juice can reduce blood pressure in an experimental setting [see our bp norm chart].
However, recent trials suggest sweetened beet juice can significantly reduce blood pressure without maintaining other lifestyle and nutrition factors.
In this guide, we explore the evidence and how to make an informed decision on the efficacy of beetroot juice.
- Beets are nutritious and can help various conditions, including reducing blood pressure.
- Nitric oxide production lowers blood pressure while increasing oxygen flow to the brain, heart, and muscles.
- One glass of fresh beetroot juice per day can instantly help control hypertension and its symptoms.
Evidence Supporting Sweetened Beet Juice for Blood Pressure
A 2013 meta-analysis of several studies published in the Journal of Nutrition concluded that a daily glass of beetroot juice drastically reduced blood pressure.
Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London and the British Heart Foundation discovered:
“That a daily glass of beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension – even those whose high blood pressure was not controlled by drug treatment.”
Blood pressure and inflammation are lowered with the help of raw or cooked beets. However, raw beet juice has been proven to be more effective.
This is because nitrates get diluted in water or when boiled. Therefore, juicing is ideal for preserving your beets’ nutritional effects and up nitrate intake.
Nitrates and beetroot juice
Individuals who supplement their diet with inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice observe reduced systolic blood pressure.
The compound nitrate (NO3) is found in root vegetables like beetroot, cabbage, and lettuce. It is absorbed through their roots from the soil.
When processed by the body, nitrate is broken down into active nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide causes vascular dilation and relaxation, effectively lowering blood pressure.
Athletes benefit from nitrates, too, as they boost cellular energy, metabolism, physical endurance, and oxygen intake.
Moreover, nitrates have been shown to increase cerebral blood flow. Many disorders and mental deterioration are linked to the insufficient blood supply to the brain.
Beets promote increased blood flow to the frontal lobe. There is a proven connection between this and enhanced cognition, reaction time, and alertness.
Patients with hypertension show long-term improvement with dietary nitrate supplements. Whether they come from food, juice, or in the form of tablets, nitrates are a powerful dietary component for decreasing blood pressure.
According to experts, patients can expect a dramatic reduction in blood pressure within just 3 hours of consuming 250 ml of beet juice.
Nonetheless, additional research is needed to understand how prolonged nitrate intake impacts blood pressure.
Packed with nutrients
In addition to nitrates, beetroot juice is rich in betalains and betaine. Betaine aids digestion by increasing stomach acid production.
Likewise, beetroot contains the phytonutrient betalain. These chemicals are potent antioxidants and reduce inflammation.
Sweetened beet juice can help regulate blood sugar if that isn’t enough. Unlike processed variations, the body breaks down natural sugars, slowly converting them into energy.
Dosage and Possible Side Effects
The benefits of beet juice can be felt within as less as three hours. This is a significant benefit, as consuming only one or two cups can help lower blood pressure.
If you want to maintain your progress with hypertension, it is recommended to consume this minimum amount.
Beets are considered generally safe for regular consumption. But its high oxalate concentration increases the risk of kidney stones.
Similarly, beetroot can induce abdominal or digestive pain. Thus, it’s essential to exercise caution if you have irritable bowel syndrome or a sensitive stomach.
How to Prepare Sweetened Beet Juice
To begin, cut off the beet’s stems and scrub them well. If they are too small, you can also remove their slim base.
Then, add your favorite vegetable or fruit. Lemon, apples, kale, oranges, and cucumber are great add-ons.
Process all your ingredients in a juicer and serve over ice. If you don’t have access to appliances, you can use a blender and add water to the mixture. Then, strain before serving.
The Bottom Line
No matter how you like your beets, their nutritional value is unrivaled. Juicing them is a better way to enjoy their various health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure.
Other fruits and vegetables can be used to mask the earthy flavor of pure beet juice. Sweetened beet juice usually has mint, citrus fruits, apples, or carrots if you aren’t a fan of root vegetables.
If you include beet juice in your diet, ease into drinking it as your body could react negatively. In time, you should adjust and be able to handle more.
- Asgary, S. et al. “Improvement of hypertension, endothelial function and systemic inflammation following short-term supplementation with red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) juice: a randomized crossover pilot study.” Journal of Human Hypertension 30 (2016): 627-632. https://www.nature.com/articles/jhh201634
- Presley, T. D. et al. “Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults.” Nitric Oxide 24.1 (2011): 34-42. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1089860310004246?
- Whitfield, J. et al. “Beetroot juice supplementation reduces whole body oxygen consumption but does not improve indices of mitochondrial efficiency in human skeletal muscle.” The Journal of Physiology 594.2 (2015): 421-435. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP270844
- Bailey, S. J. et al. “Dietary nitrate supplementation enhances muscle contractile efficiency during knee-extensor exercise in humans.” Journal of Applied Physiology 109. 1 (2010): 135-148. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00046.2010?
- Kapil, V. et al. “Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Hypertension 65.2 (2015): 320-327. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04675?
- Keller, R. M et al. “Dietary Nitrate and Nitrite Concentrations in Food Patterns and Dietary Supplements.” Nutrition Today 55.5 (2020): 218-216. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2020/09000/dietary_nitrate_and_nitrite_concentrations_in_food.6.aspx
- Benjamin, C. J. R. et al. “Nitrate Derived From Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure in Patients With Arterial Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Frontiers in Nutrition (2022). https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.823039/full