WE are often asked for help with reducing high blood pressure at Elixir Health Foods, and you cant help but wonder if it is something more of us suffer with than in the past. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 16 million Britons - one in five - and is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Although it is sometimes due to known causes such as steroid medication or the contraceptive pill, there are also a number of life-style factors which contribute, such as:
- drinking a lot of alcohol - especially binge drinking
- lack of exercise
- poor diet.
If someone else in your family has high blood pressure you also have a higher risk of developing it. Fortunately, we are able to help with a remarkably simple, yet astonishingly fast and effective solution: beetroot!
So how does it work?
The effect has been traced to nitrate in the beetroot which reacts with bacteria in the mouth. This leads to chemical changes which result in blood vessels dilating to increase blood flow. In tests, healthy volunteers recruited for a study at St Bartholomews Hospital in London were asked to drink either half a litre of beetroot juice or water. Those who had the juice started to show reductions in blood pressure after just one hour, with optimum results after three hours. They also found that only a small amount of juice is needed - just 250ml - to have this effect, and that the higher the blood pressure at the start of the study the greater the decrease caused by the nitrate.
Scientists have also shown how drinking beetroot juice can boost stamina. Some of the benefits even surpass those gained from the strict training routines followed by professional sportsmen and the researchers admit to being stunned by the results.
What if I dont like beetroot?
Since the earthy tang of the juice might not be to everyones taste, you will be glad to know that Solgar has come up with a solution with their Beetroot Extract neatly wrapped up in capsules, which provides the same benefits. Just like the juice we have seen remarkably fast results, including people who have been turned down for surgery due to their high blood pressure - yet within 24 hours reducing it so much that surgery could be carried out.
There are no side effects from Beetroot Extract (although some people may experience a discolouration of their urine in the first couple of days), and it could have a big impact on everyone from athletes training for big events to pensioners who lack the energy to walk to the shops!