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The Power of Purple
The concept of a ‘super food’ always receives a good deal of media attention and creates public interest in whether or not some foods can alleviate or prevent certain diseases. This, coupled with a growing trend for natural alternatives to prescribed drugs has piqued scientific interest – and there have now been a number of studies performed which seek to answer the question, ‘does beetroot supplementation lower blood pressure in adults?’.
The magic ingredient in beetroot is inorganic nitrate, this is in fact found naturally in lots of different vegetables, but beetroot has high levels and has been easy to use in scientific research.
The simplest and most measurable form of beetroot supplementation is to drink beetroot juice. It is believed that the inorganic nitrate contained naturally in the beetroot increases nitric acid in the body, which is involved in the vaso dilation of large arteries, thus lowering blood pressure.
Many scientific studies have found a significant decrease in blood pressure, often in both systolic and diastolic pressures. These studies do therefore support an association between the consumption of inorganic nitrate through beetroot supplementation, although the scientific evidence is presently unequivocal.
It can however be concluded that the preliminary findings are optimistic and certainly if you like beetroot, there should be no adverse effects and you will have the benefit of the vitamins and minerals contained in the beetroot juice, notwithstanding any positive effect on blood pressure.
There is also a growing scientific interest in whether or not beetroot juice supplementation has a positive effect in sport and exercise performance. Some studies have found that beetroot juice supplementation has an effect on oxygen consumption, although the mechanisms by which this occurs are not yet understood.
So whilst many so called ‘super foods’ maybe a passing fad, there is strong evidence linking beetroot juice to good health benefits.