BEET JUICE and High Blood Pressure
A UK study – published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension – says beetroot juice significantly lowers high blood pressure.
The study was conducted by the famous Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute and headed up by Professor Amrita Ahluwalia. It’s the same institute that discovered that aspirin prevents heart attacks and strokes.
Researchers gave beetroot juice to healthy volunteers. They compared their blood pressure responses and the biochemical changes in their circulation.
And what they found was very good news indeed for people with hypertension. Not only does beetroot juice lower blood pressure… it does it quickly.
Professor Ahluwalia found that patients lowered their blood pressure within three hours of drinking their daily dose! And the effects last for 24 hours.
And the best thing is that the root works best for those who need it most.
Researchers found that “the higher the blood pressure, the greater the decrease.”
That’s good news for a lot of people. Just like the US, one in three adults in the UK suffer from hypertension. And the Blood Pressure Association says over 30 percent of sufferers don’t even know they have it. That’s too bad: it results in over 350 “preventable” strokes or heart attacks every day.
Researchers also tested a second group of patients with daily nitrate tablets. They too were able to lower their blood pressure. It’s possible that the high nitrate content in beetroot is one of the reasons why it’s so effective in lowering blood pressure. And why the research group believe it’s about to become the “next super food.”
“Beeting” Out the Competition
Beetroot is rich in antioxidants. It contains iron, boron, and folic acid. It also contains betanene, which is why it has such a violent color. Betanene is a super antioxidant: it’s more potent than polyphenols. Polyphenols are believed to be reason that diets rich in leafy vegetables lower blood pressure.
Research member Professor Ben Benjamin says that beetroot absorbs and stores super high levels of nitrate. These are found in soil and our bodies use them in its battle against blood pressure.
“When nitrate is present in saliva, bacteria on the tongue converts it into nitrite,” he says. “When the nitrite is swallowed, it’s converted into nitric oxide.”
And that is a chemical produced by our blood vessels to help them relax and lower blood pressure.
“Increasing the levels of nitrate with beetroot juice increases this effect,” he says.
The study also found beetroot juice works like aspirin. It prevents blood clots and protects the lining of blood vessels.
True Stories of Success
“Currently, treatment for high blood pressure involves a cocktail of aspirin, statins, beta blockers, and angiotensin converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors,” says Professor Benjamin. “People don’t like taking all the tablets. They don’t feel well and the treatment is lifelong.”
But he says beetroot is a healthy and safe alternative to all that.
And people are already putting it to the test.
Sixty-year-old David Kelsall, from Stoke-on-Trent, England, was amazed by the results.
“I discovered my blood pressure was high when my doctor was testing for something else,” he says. “It was not life-threatening but I was anxious to do something about it.”
He was considering drugs when he read the reports about beetroot juice.
“I drank three bottles of it a week,” he says. “Less than four weeks [later], my blood pressure had already leveled out. Now, a few months later, it is under control and normal. I am still drinking the juice, and I’m going to continue doing so. It may not help everyone, but it’s helped me.”
Getting Beetroot into Your Diet
Beetroot has a medium glycemic index score of 64… but this doesn’t need to be a problem. That’s because you only need to have a very small amount of beetroot juice to lower your blood pressure.
“We found that only a small amount of juice is needed – just 250ml – to have this effect,” says Professor Ahluwalia.
Dr. Al Sears says beetroot is better at beating blood pressure problems than any drug. Here is one simple recipe that he suggests for getting it into your diet.
To make this recipe simply take:
• two raw organic carrots
• three organic celery sticks
• one-half of an organic cucumber
• one organic beetroot
(1) Chop each of the vegetables up.
(1) Drop ‘em in your juicer.
(3) Blend and drink.
It’s as simple as that!
From the Townsend Letter: Fish Oil for Atrial Fibrillation
One hundred seventy-eight patients (mean age, 62 years) with persistent atrial fibrillation for more than 1 month were randomly assigned to a control group or to receive 6 g per day of fish oil, in open-label fashion. At least 1 month (mean, 56 days) after the start of supplementation, patients underwent electrical cardioversion. Fish oil was continued until atrial fibrillation returned or for a maximum of 1 year.
Concurrent use of antiarrhythmic drugs (sotalol or amiodarone) was permitted. Mean duration of fish oil use after cardioversion was 186 days. Ninety days after cardioversion, the recurrence rate of atrial fibrillation was significantly lower in the fish oil group than in the control group (38.5% vs. 77.5%; p < 0.001). Fish oil significantly reduced recurrence rates both in patients who were and were not using antiarrhythmic drugs.
Comment (Alan Gaby, MD): Persistent atrial fibrillation is associated with a high risk of recurrence after electrical cardioversion. The results of the present study demonstrate that starting fish oil supplementation more than 1 month before electrical cardioversion and continuing it afterwards can reduce the recurrence rate of persistent atrial fibrillation.
Green Tea Extract Lowers LDL-Cholesterol Levels
One hundred three healthy postmenopausal women (mean age, 60 years) were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, Polyphenon E (a green tea extract, providing 400 or 800 mg per day of epigallocatechin gallate [EGCG]; equivalent to about 5 or 10 cups per day of green tea) or placebo for 2 months.
The mean serum concentration of LDL cholesterol decreased by 7.7% with 400 mg per day of EGCG, decreased by 6.5% with 800 mg per day of EGCG, and increased by 0.8% in the placebo group (p = 0.02 for the difference in the change between the combined active-treatment groups and placebo).
Comment (Alan Gaby,MD: Other studies have shown that supplementation with green tea extract can decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure and serum levels of C-reactive protein, while increasing insulin sensitivity. Each of these effects would be expected to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The results of the present study indicate that green tea can protect the heart and blood vessels by yet another mechanism.
Wu AH et al. Effect of 2-month controlled green tea intervention on lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, and hormone levels in healthy postmenopausal women. Cancer Prev Res. 2012;5:393–402.
Kumar S et al. Long-term omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation reduces the recurrence of persistent atrial fibrillation after electrical cardioversion. Heart Rhythm. 2012;9:483–491
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