We have advocated exercise and meditation as ways to lower blood pressure without resorting to medications. A recent article in the Journal of Hypertension reported a study that piqued our interest. It seems that a daily cup of beet juice lowered systolic and diastolic pressures in patients with hypertension. Improvements in blood vessel function and arterial stiffness were also observed.
Researchers attributed the benefit to nitrates in beets that caused blood vessels to dilate. The blood pressure reduction was of clinical significance and came close to that of taking a single anti-hypertension drug. We are excited by this study. The implications are important and may be life saving for many with high blood pressure. In fact it might be necessary to create a new folk saying that goes "A cup of beet juice a day keeps the doctor away."