Scientists at the University of Reading have found that just a 100gm dose of beetroot juice can result in a significant short-term lowering of blood pressure, lasting up to 4-hours and, in some cases, up to 13-hours.
Scientists believe that this property of beetroot is due to its high nitrate content, which when ingested becomes nitric oxide. This increases blood flow and helps to keep BP low.
Red and white beetroot had an equal effect. This shows that betalain, which gives red beetroot its color, plays a minimal role in lowering BP. Bread enriched with either beetroot had a similar effect.
Professor Julie Lovegrove said, "This new data strengthens the evidence for a beneficial effect of nitrate-rich foods in lowering BP, even at relatively low levels of dosage."
He said, "Enriching bread with beetroot may provide a useful vehicle to increase consumption, particularly for those at risk of cardiovascular disease."
The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.