British researchers have discovered that drinking about two cups of beet juice daily can reduce blood pressure by about four points due to the high concentration of nitrates in beet juice. Research studies showed that nitrates in juice are converted into nitric oxide in the acidic environment of the stomach, then enters the bloodstream as nitrates. Nitrates decrease blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. They also prevent blood vessel injury at low oxygen states and decrease clotting. Other studies have shown that consuming vegetables by people with borderline high blood pressure has the same effect in lowering blood pressure as medication. Nitrates are found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and beets.
This nutrition tip is from Dr. Kathryn Kolasa, registered dietitian and professor of family medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, and Eva Kyritsis, medical student.