Blood pressure numbers creeping up, up, up? You might be able to beat 'em back down with beet juice. Sounds strange. But one small study found that a serving of beet juice helped lower blood pressure in healthy people.
Fast and Lasting
Before you go overboard on beet juice, keep in mind that it was a small study with lots of caveats -- and lots more research will be needed to confirm the results. But the initial take was promising. Compared with the people in the study who drank water, those who drank a serving of beet juice had a drop in blood pressure just 1 hour later. Twenty-four hours later, systolic blood pressure was still several points lower in the beet juice drinkers than in the water drinkers. Here's how to make sure you're getting accurate blood pressure readings at home.
A Beet Juice Caveat
Though beet juice may be grand, keep this in mind: Researchers think that the juice's high concentration of nitrates -- little compounds found in lots of different fruits and veggies as well as in processed meat and sometimes in groundwater -- may be the reason for the blood pressure benefits. But getting too many nitrates may be a health hazard. The comforting thing about getting nitrates from fruits and veggies is that produce has antioxidants that help keep nitrates in check. So cut back on processed meats, but don't hold back on produce.
Clinically known as hypertension, high blood pressure can cause a host of problems if left untreated. The most common type of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure causes our hearts to work harder by forcing blood to push ag...ainst the walls of our arteries at an elevated level. Hypertension is the leading cause of strokes and heart attack. It also increases your risk of having heart and kidney failure and hardening of the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. More