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“Beet” Blood Pressure

Posted May 08 2013 10:09pm

In the human body, nitric oxide widens blood vessels and aids blood flow.  Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which the body converts to nitrite and then to nitric oxide.  Amrita Ahluwalia, from The London Medical School (United Kingdom), and colleagues enrolled 8 women and 7 men with a systolic blood pressure between 140 to 159 mm Hg, who did not have other medical complications and were not taking blood pressure medication. The study participants drank 250 mL of beetroot juice or water containing a low amount of nitrate, and had their blood pressure monitored over the next 24 hours.  Compared with the placebo group, participants drinking beetroot juice had reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure the effect was most pronounced three to six hours after drinking the juice but still present even 24 hours later.  The study authors submit that: “Our observations … support the concept of dietary nitrate supplementation as an effective, but simple and inexpensive, antihypertensive strategy.”

Suborno M. Ghosh, Vikas Kapil, Isabel Fuentes-Calvo, Kristen J. Bubb, Vanessa Pearl, Amrita Ahluwalia, et al.  “Enhanced Vasodilator Activity of Nitrite in Hypertension: Critical Role for Erythrocytic Xanthine Oxidoreductase and Translational Potential.”  Hypertension. April 15, 2013

  
A cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg.
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Tip #160 - Brew Better Health
Certain studies suggest that coffee mitigates disease by reducing inflammation in blood vessels and supporting the normal function of the blood vessel lining. Coffee also is a rich source of antioxidants and magnesium, nutrients that are key in maintaining cardiovascular and circulatory health.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) studied 20 years of data collected on 41,736 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and 86,214 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study. The team found that in general, regular coffee consumption was linked to a slightly lower risk of death from any cause, and from cardiovascular disease in particular. Among women, those who drank at least 2 to 3 cups per day were one-quarter to one-third less likely to die of heart problems or stroke than women who did not drink coffee. For men, a protective effect was seen when drinking 4 to 5 cups daily.

A team from the University of Kuopio (Finland) completed a 21-year long study involving 1,409 men and women, ages 65 to 79 years old at the study’s concluding point. The researchers found that those study subjects who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day at midlife lowered their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by 65%, as compared to those who drank no or a little coffee.

Opt for drip brewed coffee – the kind that uses a paper filter. Coffee beans contain cafestol, a very potent dietary cholesterol-elevating compound. Whereas paper filters remove much of the cafestol during the drip brew process, French press coffee, Turkish and Scandinavian preparations, and espresso retain very high levels of cafestol.

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