A study by Barts and the London School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School has found that drinking 500ml of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure.

The researchers found that in a group of healthy volunteers, blood pressure was reduced within an hour of drinking the juice. The key beneficial ingredient appears to be nitrate, which is also found in green, leafy vegetables and could suggest a low-cost way to treat hypertension.
The report - published on the on-line journal Hypertension – explained that while it took less than an hour to note a reduction in blood pressure in the beetroot juice tests, it was more pronounced after three to four hours and a degree of reduction continued to be observed for up to 24 hours.

Researcher Professor Amrita Ahluwalia had this to say on the report:

"...our research suggests that drinking beetroot juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and might also be an additional approach that one could take in the modern day battle against rising blood pressure..."

Unfortunately, even though beetroot juice has been shown to have this beneficial property, it is unlikely that people will be able to - or wish to - consume it in such quantities.

More than 25% of the world's adult population are hypertensive, and it has been estimated that this figure will increase to 29% by 2025. Hypertension causes around 50% of coronary heart disease, and approximately 75% of strokes.

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