DIET AND FITNESS:

Beets Lower High Blood Pressure--
But There's a Big Catch
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January 18, 2010, last updated August 2, 2013

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor
and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.]





Oh, the lowly beets, those red slices you used to push
around your plate to avoid eating them when you when you
were a child. How you dreaded them. But that’s all changed
now.  If you are one of the estimated 74.5 million Americans
with high blood pressure, the lowly beet has just become
your new best friend.  Why?

Beet juice can help to lower high blood pressure. A 2008
study from the London School of Medicine found that
drinking two glasses a day (for a total of 500 ml) can lower
blood pressure by as much as 10 points within 3 hours of
drinking it. So, beet juice is a powerful ally against high
blood pressure.

But new research has revealed that there’s one huge catch.

























Mouthwash Reverses Beet Power to Reduce Blood Pressure

New studies have found that people who use mouthwash
before eating beets do not experience a drop in blood
pressure. Researchers believe that the answer lies in the
interaction of nitrates with normal bacteria in your mouth.  

Beets are rich in nitrates. Remember nitrates? Those
destructive compounds implicated in high cancer rates linked
to burned hamburgers. Well, nitrates are necessary for some
biological reactions in your body. Specifically, your body
needs nitrates as a building block for converting them into a
helpful compound called “nitrites”.  Nitrites help to relax
your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.

That’s why, as a general matter, if you measure the amount
of nitrites in the blood stream of two people, the person with
the higher levels of nitrites will have lower blood pressure.

Now, here’s the link to mouthwash. Beet juice is tantamount
to taking a mega-load of nitrates. However, your body must
convert the nitrates to nitrites to achieve the blood pressure
effects. To do this, your body uses special bacteria in your
mouth. If you use anti-bacterial mouthwash, you kill the
bacteria needed to make the switch from nitrates to nitrites.  
Hence, your blood pressure stays high.

Two studies have confirmed this link between mouthwash
use and high blood pressure.

One study in 2008 from Karolinska Institute in Sweden
examined 7 people who were first given made to rinse their
mouths with an antiseptic mouthwash. They were then fed a
nitrate-enriched water solution. Result?  The nitrates natural
blood pressure-lowering effects were completely blocked by
the use of the antiseptic mouthwash.

Another 2009 study from Uppsala University in Sweden,
examined the blood pressure levels in rats that were fed
nitrate-enriched water and were also treated with
commercial antiseptic mouthwash twice a day. The
researchers confirmed that, following the treatment with the
antiseptic, the nitrate-water was completely ineffective in
lowering blood pressure.

So, here is the recommendation. Yes, drink beet juice to help
lower your blood pressure. As we noted above, a 2008
study from the London School of Medicine found that
drinking two glasses a day (for a total of 500 ml) can lower
blood pressure by as much as 10 points within 3 hours of
drinking it. And, even though beets are high in sugar, unless
you are diabetic, what you gain by lowering your blood
pressure outweighs the extra bit of sugar beets add to your
diet.  To counteract the sugar, you can add more activity to
your day, like walking for 40 minutes.

So, all in all, beet juice is a powerful ally against high blood
pressure.

But, remember, to safeguard those effects, skip the
antiseptic mouth wash before you drink the juice that day.


Related:
High Blood Pressure?-Top 10 Natural Remedies
How Much Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease
Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health? / Ideal
Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis
/
Healing Foods Links /  Foods That Shrink Your Waist /
Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/
Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

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