High blood pressure affects around a third of adults in the UK, although many will not realise they have it. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high is to have your blood pressure checked. If a person’s blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on the blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase the risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions.
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Lifestyle plays an integral role in treating high blood pressure. If a person can successfully control their blood pressure with a healthy diet, they might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimping on saturated fat and cholesterol can help lower blood pressure by up to 11 mmHg.
A particular vegetable has been proven to help lower blood pressure readings.
Medical researchers have recently turned to beetroot to investigate its effect on blood pressure and explore opportunities to put it to use in modern medicine and the home management of conditions.
Beetroot has been used since the Middle Ages as a treatment for ailments, particularly those relating to the blood and digestion.
Researchers have concluded that one glass of beetroot juice a day is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
How beetroot helps with blood pressure
Beetroot contains high levels of dietary nitrate which the body converts into biologically active nitrite and nitric oxide.
In the human body, nitric oxide relaxes and dilates blood vessels.
Other leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage, also have high levels of the compound.
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What the study says?
In a meta-analysis by the Journal of Nutrition, nitrate and beetroot juice and how it could help lower blood pressure was investigated.
The study noted: “Diets including food products rich in inorganic nitrate are associated with lower blood pressure.”
The researchers found that beetroot juice supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.
Dr Shannon Amoils, British Heart Foundation’s senior research advisor said: “This interesting study builds on previous research by this team and finds 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.”
When it comes to a person’s diet and managing their blood pressure, reducing the amount of sodium is crucial. Even a small reduction in the sodium in one’s diet can improve heart health and reduce blood pressure by about five to six mmHg if they have high blood pressure.
It’s strongly advised to always read food labels, eat fewer processed foods and try to not add extra salt.
If you suspect you may have high blood pressure it’s important to speak with your GP and make suitable changes in your diet to lower your blood pressure.
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