The Power of Beetroot By Mrs Vera West
Australians love beetroot on their burgers and steak sandwiches, but beetroot juice has important properties beyond tasting great:
The study referred to is here:
The abstract indicates that the nitrates from beetroot juice may help to lower blood pressure. For our vast numbers of science fans out there:
“Acute dietary nitrate (NO3−) supplementation reduces resting blood pressure in healthy normotensives. This response has been attributed to increased nitric oxide bioavailability and peripheral vasodilation, although nitric oxide also tonically inhibits central sympathetic outflow. We hypothesized that acute dietary NO3− supplementation using beetroot (BR) juice would reduce blood pressure and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) at rest and during exercise. Fourteen participants (7 men and 7 women, age: 25 ± 10 yr) underwent blood pressure and MSNA measurements before and after (165–180 min) ingestion of 70ml high-NO3− (~6.4 mmol NO3−) BR or NO3−-depleted BR placebo (PL; ~0.0055 mmol NO3−) in a double-blind, randomized, crossover design.
Blood pressure and MSNA were also collected during 2 min of static handgrip (30% maximal voluntary contraction). The changes in resting MSNA burst frequency (−3 ± 5 vs. 3 ± 4 bursts/min, P = 0.001) and burst incidence (−4 ± 7 vs. 4 ± 5 bursts/100 heart beats, P = 0.002) were lower after BR versus PL, whereas systolic blood pressure (−1 ± 5 vs. 2 ± 5 mmHg, P = 0.30) and diastolic blood pressure (4 ± 5 vs. 5 ± 7 mmHg, P = 0.68) as well as spontaneous arterial sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity (P = 0.95) were not different.
During static handgrip, the change in MSNA burst incidence (1 ± 8 vs. 8 ± 9 bursts/100 heart beats, P = 0.04) was lower after BR versus PL, whereas MSNA burst frequency (6 ± 6 vs. 11 ± 10 bursts/min, P = 0.11) as well as systolic blood pressure (11 ± 7 vs. 12 ± 8 mmHg, P = 0.94) and diastolic blood pressure (11 ± 4 vs. 11 ± 4 mmHg, P = 0.60) were not different. Collectively, these data provide proof of principle that acute BR supplementation can decrease central sympathetic outflow at rest and during exercise. Dietary NO3− supplementation may represent a novel intervention to target exaggerated sympathetic outflow in clinical populations.”
Ok, that one got me too. But the short version is that nitrates in beetroot juice may act to decrease blood pressure by reducing overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This overstimulation results in an increase heart rate and blood pressure as well as blood pressure constriction. Apart from the cardiovascular benefits of beetroot, the juice also aids in slowing down Alzheimer’s disease, as well as having anti-cancer properties:
I presume that the whole beet has the same effect, and it is difficult to see how it could not, because where else does the juice come from? So, I imagine that the way to go will be to get some fresh organic beetroots and wack them on your meal of green leafy vegetables, and lean meat. Who’s hungry now? I, by coincidence, have some beetroot spread from Coles, cost $2 for lunch sitting to my left of the computer, so this is as good a time as any to eat it. All political actionists, having high blood pressure from psycho-political warfare, need to eat beetroot!