High blood pressure is often caused by eating a poor diet, especially one which is high in salt. Cutting down on salt can help to lower blood pressure, as well as limiting your intake of foods which are high in fat. It can also be worth adding other foods to your diet which contain properties that can help to lower blood pressure. One such brightly coloured vegetable, which can be added to salads, cooked or blended into a juice, is the beetroot.
Some people love beetroots and some people hate them, but there is good reason to include them in your diet, especially if you want to ensure healthy blood pressure.
This is because the vegetable contains two key ingredients which can help to lower blood pressure when it is too high.
The first is a compound called nitrate. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the blood, which helps to support blood vessel function and overall heart health.
It does this by helping to relax the blood vessels, in turn lowering the pressure of blood running through them.
The second property found in beetroots which can help to lower blood pressure is potassium.
Potassium is a mineral that work with the kidneys to balance the level of salt and water in the body.
“This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder,” said Blood Pressure UK.
Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in the bloodstream, which wrecks the balance, reducing the ability of the kidneys to remove water.
But consuming more potassium will increase the levels of the mineral in the body, which will help to restore the balance.
“This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level,” said Blood Pressure UK.
According to medical website Healthline, one cup of boiled beetroots contains around 518g of potassium.
This compared with the around 422g of potassium found in a medium-sized banana – a fruit known for its high potassium content.
One review of 16 studies showed drinking beetroot juice every day “significantly” reduced systolic blood pressure, according to dietitian Juliette Kellow.
Kellow notes, however, that potassium can lower blood pressure only when combined with a lower intake of sodium.
Eating lots of potassium-rich foods as well as lots of salt will counteract the benefits of the potassium, so it’s vital to limit your intake of salt too.
Beetroots are also high in folate – a B vitamin which helps the body form healthy red blood cells.
High blood pressure: Four ways to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs. It increases the risk of some life-threatening heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can often be prevented, and blood pressure reduced, by making some diet or lifestyle changes.
Cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet is a great way to lower blood pressure.
Salt raises blood pressure, and the more you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Blood pressure could be raised if you regularly drink too much alcohol.
Those most likely to have hypertension are people that regularly exceed the week recommended limits.
All adults are advised to drink less than 14 units of alcohol in a single week.
If you’re overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which raises blood pressure.
Losing just a few pounds could make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
It helps you to lose weight, while also keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
All adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.