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Beetroot lowers blood pressure?

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 23, 2012 14:39 IST

AFP
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If you suffer from high blood pressure, a bowl of borscht may be just what the doctor ordered. Because according to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition and released March 22, researchers found that beetroot juice was able to reduce blood pressure in a group of 18 male participants as soon as three hours after consumption.



While beetroots contain heart healthy compounds like vitamins C and K, fiber and polyphenols, scientists say it's the high nitrate content that's likely responsible for the ability to reduce blood pressure.



The latest study on the effects of beetroot builds on previous research which has also been shown to help with hypertension. But where the study out of the University of Reading differs, the researchers say, is that theirs is the first to look at the impact of specific dose responses.



After giving a group of 18 men different doses of beetroot juice -- 100g, 250g and 500g -- researchers determined that the 100g dose was all it took to lower blood pressure over the span of 13 hours.



Participants were also given bread enriched with beetroot juice which produced similar results.



Here's how the beets work: after being ingested by the body, nitrates turn into nitric oxide, a gas which increases blood flow, thereby helping to reduce blood pressure.



Other studies have likewise shown that beetroot juice can boost stamina and help people exercise for up to 16 percent longer, and benefit not just top, elite athletes, but also help elderly people lead more active lifestyles.



Meanwhile, the largest user-generated, community recipe site Allrecipes.com offers a variety of borscht recipes including Russian and Ukrainian versions.