A research study conducted by Professor Amrita Ahluwalia and her colleagues emphasizes the potential effectiveness of a natural and low-cost approach for treating cardiovascular disease. This condition that kills over 110,000 people in England yearly can be controlled by nitrate, which is similar to the cardio-protective effects of a vegetable-rich diet.
Consequently, over 25% of the world's adult population is hypertensive; ultimately this figure will increase 29% by 2025. More so, the disease causes approximately 50% of the coronary heart diseases and 75% of strokes.
A study conducted by researchers at Barts and the London School of Medicine revealed that drinking 500ml of beetroot juice has the significant ability to reduce elevated blood pressure. Recently published online in the American Heart Association Journal, Hypertension, the study indicates that beetroot juice is a prominent treatment for cardiovascular disease.
According to research facilitators, Professor Amrita Ahluwalia and Ben Benjamin, the study reveals that the dietary nitrate contained in the beetroot juice will ultimately lower blood pressure. The professors of the William Harvey Research Institute at Barts and The London School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, respectively, also disclose that the content is similar to the dietary nitrate found in green, leafy vegetables. In the past, the significant effectiveness of the vegetable-rich diets were primarily attributed to their antioxidant vitamin content.
Due to the chemical formation of nitrate that derives from the dietary nitrate in the beetroot juice, the researchers were able to justify the decrease in the volunteers' blood pressure. Specifically, Professor Ahluwalia and her team discovered that the blood pressure of healthy volunteers was reduced within one hour of ingesting the juice. More over, a peak drop occurred three to four hours after ingestion.
The team also observed further reduction in blood pressure up until 24 hours after ingestion. Basically, the nitrate contained in the juice is converted within the saliva as a result of the bacteria on the tongue. This nitrate-containing saliva is then fused with the stomach acid, which is converted into nitric oxide - or simply re-enters the circulation as nitrite.
The study involved making a correlation between the peak time of reduction in blood pressure with the visual peak levels of nitrate within circulation. This step was effective in that it was not implemented while testing a second group of volunteers that were instructed not to swallow their saliva during, and for three hours after, ingesting the beetroot juice.
"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 I could take in the modern day battle against rising blood pressure," says Professor Ahluwalia.
For more information, read Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective and anti-platelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrate in the online Feburary 2008 edition of Hypertension.
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Published On: October 13, 2008