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We hear new health claims about various types of food every single day – the news is always full of The Next Big Thing in terms of what we consume, how it is good for us and how we can introduce it into our daily diet. However, the next week we usually hear something opposing this new research which claims that the new ‘superfood’ isn’t as good as it was previously made out to be.
Beetroot has long been claimed to be one of these ‘superfoods’, especially when it comes to athletic performance and lowering blood pressure, but claims like these are easy to dismiss especially when we hear lots of them every week. However, new research carried out by Dr Andrew Webb, a consultant physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London who specialises in blood pressure management, could change our minds
Dr Webb has been studying the effects of beetroot on blood pressure for several years on behalf of the British Heart Foundation and looked into beetroot compared to other foods which have also been claimed to be effective against blood pressure, like garlic and watermelon.
By studying the participants of the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir – all 28 members of the choir had elevated blood pressure and were divided into three separate groups and given a different fruit or vegetable for the week before swapping. Depending on the week, they had to start each day with either two whole beetroots, two cloves of garlic or two slices of watermelon. During the study, the participants had to take their blood pressure three times each and every morning.
Beetroot has a huge concentration of nitrates which help lower blood pressure by opening up the blood vessels, so it’s no surprise that at times when it was their turn to have beetroot every morning for a week, the specific participants were revealed to have lower blood pressure levels than when they consumed garlic or watermelon.
The study revealed that because the nitrates in beetroot are so active, having beetroot included regularly within a healthy lifestyle could reduce the risks of strokes and heart attacks as a result of raised cholesterol levels.