According to new research beetroot can have a significantly lowering effect on blood pressure.
Latest figures show that around 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure, with two thirds of these people not even knowing they have it.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for a number of serious conditions including heart disease, stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.
Previously, research has shown that drinking beetroot juice has been linked to increased stamina when exercising and significantly enhance the supply of oxygenated blood to the brain.
Now, researchers at The Barts and The London Medical School have found that by consuming beetroot juice can also have a blood pressure lowering effect. The researchers tested their theory on 15 people all of whom had been diagnosed as having high blood pressure, a reading between 140 and 150 mmHg.
The participants were split into two groups one group were given 250ml of beetroot juice to drink while the others were given water. All of the participants had their blood pressures monitored for the next 24 hours.
The results showed that those who drank the beetroot juice saw a 10 mmHg reduction in their blood pressure at its peak six hours after consumption, however the researchers reported sustained changes over the 24 hour period.
The research team reported that the results were as a result of increased nitrate consumption also found in high concentrations in celery, spinach, cabbage and some lettuce.