BLOG NEWS: Study shows that beetroot is good for the heart

Researchers have found beetroot is good for your heart.

A UK study found that drinking a glass of beetroot juice helped lower blood pressure. The study, published in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension, tested 15 people who were given either 250ml of beetroot juice or water, with those drinking the juice showing a drop in blood pressure even after 24 hours.  Previous studies have also found links between beetroot and blood pressure, including an Australian study published by the Nutrition Journal in December 2012.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The UK researchers found similar results in 30 participants who were given a mix of beetroot and apple juice, with men showing a greater drop in blood pressure than women.

Caryn Zinn, dietitian and NZ Nutrition Foundation sports nutrition committee member said that the effect is down to beetroot's high level of nitrates. "They can do all sorts of positive things, such as reducing blood pressure,'' she said. Leafy green vegetables, such as celery, lettuce, spinach and rocket, are also good sources of nitrates, but beetroot is a particularly concentrated source.

For best health benefits, she said, beetroot should be eaten as part of a healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Beetroot also has benefits for sports people, Dr Zinn said, as other recent studies have shown it helps improve stamina by reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.

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