The beetroot (beta vulgaris) is a root vegetable, part of the Chenopodiaceae family of plants, whose particular nutritional composition has caused some interesting in the prevention of certain metabolic diseases such as hypertension (1).
Hypertension is an undesired increase in blood pressure which leads to many negative consequences in different organs, whose function is compromised if the disease is not positively manipulated or controlled (2).
Beetroots and the juice which is derived from its extraction, have shown unusually interesting concentrations of certain chemical compounds which have been studied and which have shown positive outcomes for the treatment of hypertension in patients who suffer from it. Let’s take a dive into describing the actual mechanisms which account for the positive effects found in this root vegetable.
Beetroots are particularly high in nitric oxide (NO3)
It is of no surprise that beetroot juice has been linked positively to a reduction in blood pressure because of the presence of nitric oxide (NO3), on it (1). Nitric oxide is a chemical compound which is widely regarded as one of the main characters that participate in regulation of blood pressure (1). Nitric oxide increases vasodilation in blood vessels, which ultimately results in a reduction of blood pressure and an increase in organ blood irrigation (1). Through several randomised controlled trials, it has been observed that beetroot juice supplementation on patients with hypertension, has a positive effect on reducing blood pressure and reduce the negative consequences of this pathology (1). It is important though, to remember, that beetroot juice alone may be just one of the many factors having an actual effect on human blood pressure, but it is important to consume fruits and vegetables in general in order to improve blood pressure altogether.
Potassium in beetroot juice
Potassium is a positively charged ion which participates on many physiological processes in the human body (3). Regulation of blood pressure is an observed effect in individuals whose diet is particularly high on this cation (3). Potassium participates in sodium excretion, cation which participates in blood pressure increase unlike the former (3). Beetroots and beetroot juice, contain approximately 317 mg of potassium per cup, making it an ideal beverage or food to consume and positively result in improved blood pressure outcomes (4). Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), have been developed as lifestyle guidelines to reduce blood pressure (3). This diet emphasises the particular importance of consuming a diet very rich in fruits and vegetables, since this type of foods are the ones which contain the highest concentrations of potassium and furthermore, reduce blood pressure (3). The more potassium you consume (i.e., beetroot juice), the less sodium you will preserve in your blood stream, furthermore resulting in blood pressure reduction.
Beetroot juice and polyphenols
Though it has been hypothesised and proven that beetroot juice exerts its lowering blood pressure effects on the human body because of its high NO3 content, phytochemicals such as polyphenols have been shown to also participate in blood pressure regulation (1, 5). Betalains (betacyanins and betaxanthins), flavonoids such as luteolin and quercetin, and lignans such as secoisolariciresinol, are the main type of phytochemicals present in beetroots (1, 5). These are present in about 164.1 mg/100 g of product approximately (5). Different metabolic and biochemical reactions, as well as cell signalling, are the processes by which phytochemicals may exert their benefit for reducing blood pressure (5).
Scientific evidence of the highest quality has demonstrated that beetroot juice reduces blood pressure, particularly in individuals whose health is negatively affected by having an increased blood pressure.
Nitric oxide (NO3) has been regarded as the most studied compound responsible for reducing blood pressure through beetroot juice consumption.
Potassium is a positive cation found in high quantities in beetroot juice which reduces blood pressure through sodium excretion in the kidney.
Phytochemicals such as polyphenols, are another class of plant compounds which have been pointed out as possible contributors to preventing and controlling of hypertension.
- Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Kabir A, Azizi F, Ghasemi A. The Nitrate-Independent Blood Pressure–Lowering Effect of Beetroot Juice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal. 2017;8(6):830-838.
- Bonilla Ocampo D, Paipilla A, Marín E, Vargas-Molina S, Petro J, Pérez-Idárraga A. Dietary Nitrate from Beetroot Juice for Hypertension: A Systematic Review. Biomolecules. 2018;8(4):134.
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Potassium [Internet]. Ods.od.nih.gov. [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/
- Beet juice I I Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. 2020 [cited 22 May 2021]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103215/nutrients.
- Showing all polyphenols found in Red beetroot, raw – Phenol-Explorer [Internet]. Phenol-explorer.eu. [cited 23 May 2021]. Available from: http://phenol-explorer.eu/contents/food/499