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.