The Smoothie That Lowers Blood Pressure
Its secret ingredient
While respecting that “apple a day” rule? If you are concerned about your blood pressure, you may want to trade in apple beet, according to a new study.
Eight women and seven men with high blood pressure were given 250 ml (a little over one cup) of water or beet juice, then followed more than 24 hours in a small study published in the American Heart Association Hypertension. Those who drank beetroot juice experienced a drop in systolic blood pressure, the highest number for an average of 11.2 points and experienced a lower overall systolic blood pressure.
Beets are just one of several vegetables—including lettuce, spinach, kale, turnips, radishes, carrots, and chard—high in dietary, or inorganic, nitrate. When digested, nitrate become nitric oxide, a gas in the blood that can widen your blood vessels and aid in blood flow. While the researchers are uncertain as to whether the effect can be maintained on a long-term basis, the study showed that this small, 8-ounce dose raised nitrate levels 1.5 times in the patients with hypertension—in a relatively inexpensive way.
Want to give your diet a healthy does of dietary nitrate? Give this Blueberry-Almond Smoothie a try—it contains beets and carrot juice, both good sources of nitrate:
1/2 cup unsweetened carrot juice
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup peeled and grated raw beet
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsalted raw whole almonds
1/3 cup ice cubes, 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Dash of ground ginger.
Blend ingredients together and enjoy! Makes one serving.