Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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When it comes to getting your high blood pressure reading to drop, diet plays a key role. While certain ingredients like salt can send your levels off the charts, others like beetroot could help the numbers to drop. Dr Mosley invited a professor to his podcast, who helped to explain “the secret” of the red veg.
“Consuming beetroot has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation,” explained the BBC Radio 4 podcast host.
He was joined by the professor of Applied Physiology at the University of Exeter, Andrew Jones, who broke down the science behind the “wonderful” vegetable.
Mr Jones said: “I guess, we’ve been investigating the influence of dietary nitrate which is a component of beetroot for 12 or 13 years now.”
This goodie packed inside beetroot is what gives it its health benefits. Mosley noted: “The real secret to beetroot is that it is incredibly rich in nitrates.”
Mr Jones explained: “Some of our original investigations indicated that beetroot juice significantly reduced resting blood pressure.”
This reduction was especially meaningful for those who were hypertensive to begin with.
“And obviously that has implications for cardiovascular health,” the professor added.
Unfortunately, blood pressure is no good news as having this condition can hike your risk of life-threatening emergencies, such as a heart attack or a stroke.
To avoid any further complications triggered by the culprit, you need to get your levels under control.
Mr Jones shared how exactly beets can facilitate this drop. He said: “What basically happens is that when we ingest nitrate in our diet, it gets converted first of all into nitrite by the metabolism of bacteria that reside in our mouths.
“That can be converted into nitric oxide which is a vasodilator so it causes our blood vessels to widen.
“Therefore, it allows more blood flow and more oxygen to flow to our tissues.”
What’s more, beets can lower your systolic blood pressure – the higher number – by three to even nine millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
The professor added: “The change in blood pressure that I’ve described there… can be quite meaningful.
“If you had that sort of change across the entire population, the incidence of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, would be greatly reduced.”
Dr Mosley even experienced a drop in his blood pressure after adding beetroot into his dietary regimen.
The doctor said: “I’ve had a really beetroot-rich week.
“I put in my salad, I’ve whisked it into a smoothie and I drank an awful lot of beetroot juice as well.
“I have to say I do feel it’s made exercise easier to do and my blood pressure has come down a bit – I’ve been monitoring it with a home device. You can’t beat that.
“So, there it is – putting beetroot on your plate or in your glass could benefit your heart, brain and your physical performance,” he concluded.
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