Beets for Blood Pressure
Recently somebody left me a comment enquiring whether eating beets was effective in helping to reduce blood pressure naturally. This is a good question and one I wanted to look into since I never really was a fan of beets, or beetroots as they were called in England when I was growing up, and as such had tended to give them a wide berth as an adult.
Now I view them somewhat differently.
For me nowadays … Beets are simply unBeetable!!
Studies into beet juice as a supplement to lower blood pressure have promising results:
One of the most recent trials conducted by researchers at London’s Queen Mary University in the UK and sponsored by the British Heart Foundation has come up with some very encouraging results for those of us who are seeking ways to control blood pressure naturally, rather than having to rely upon ongoing pharmaceutical treatments in the form of blood pressure medications.
The trial was run for 4 weeks and involved 64 test subjects many of whom were already of blood pressure medication. They were given a glass (250 ml) of beetroot juice to drink each day. This juice contained dietary nitrate which in the body undergoes a conversion process to produce nitric oxide. And nitric oxide in the body plays an important role in relaxing the opening up the blood vessels which impacts blood pressure readings. In the study quoted above the findings were significant as the blood pressure levels of the test subject showed a drop in systolic blood pressure of 8 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and a drop in diastolic blood pressure of 4 mm Hg.
The good news was that in many cases this decrease was sufficient to bring many of the test subjects back into the normal blood pressure range. And the placebo group showed no such improvement in their readings.
Feeling pretty buoyed up by the findings of this study, I decided to give beetroot juice a shot.
One way that I found to incorporate beets into my daily diet, and also to ensure my VITAMIX JUICER gets a regular work out, was to come up with a beet smoothie drink.
I have been playing around with various ingredients, and will continue to do so, but I would like to share with you below the recipe which both my wife and I are really enjoying on a daily basis.
Recipe for Nick’s Beet Smoothie:
- 2 medium beetroots
- 2-3 beet leaves – can also substitute kale leaves
- 3/4 cup frozen berries (my favourite are blackcurrants which give the drink a real tang!)
- 1-2 celery stalks or arugula leaves
- one small apple
- 2 small pieces of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup of H2O
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of orange juice
Note: You can easily substitute other healthy vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, grapes and use other juices to sweeten as preferred, e.g. white grape juice, mango juice and so on.
Place frozen berries, beet quarters, beet leaves, apple slices, chopped celery, garlic, ginger into mixer, add liquid and simply mix together for 30-45 seconds. Or use the smoothie setting if you have one!
This makes enough for 3-4 small cups of smoothie and if we do not consume it all in one day, I place the rest in the fridge for the following day. Ideally ‘though the drink should be taken fresh to ensure best availability of the nutrients in the mixture.
I find that the nice thing about making a smoothie in the Vitamix machine is that the drink comes out loaded with fibre. The consistency of the drink can be varied by adding more, or less liquid according to taste.
Note: it is best to use organic ingredients where possible and also to peel the beets, as leaving the skin on can result in a rather earthy taste which will not suit most palates.
I encourage anyone, who wants to help manage his or her blood pressure by this natural and nutritious approach, to try this out. Not only will your BP thank you but you will also get a good surge of energy from drinking such a healthy and delicious smoothie!!