I heard today that drinking a pint of beetroot juice (500ml) lowers your blood pressure, effects are seen within one hour. Good news for the EU (all those sugarbeet fields: what a quandary do they make sugar, use it for reaching their 10% biofuel goal OR change the type of beet so they can juice it for general consumption!).

Personally I want to know how many intact beetroot do I have to eat? I love cooked red beetroot as is or pickled but I’d rather eat it intact than drink it. Is the effect dependant on the colour of the beetroot: there’s red, white or yellow? The researchers believe it to be the nitrate levels in the beetroot and its dependent on your saliva converting the nitrates into nitrite and you swallowing the saliva (which you would do unless you took it through a straw!). Nitrates are high in leafy green vegetables and previously their blood-pressure lowering action was ascribed to the action of potassium.

My father the most indolent man you could meet always planted three things in his garden: shallots, radishes and beetroot. My maternal grandfather brought up his family on a very low wage by growing fruit and vegetables in his garden. The only thing they ever bought was meat or fish once a week, and the daily loaf and milk. If the council would have let him keep a cow he would have! Visitors were always offered sherry and wine……but the sherry was made from beetroot and the wine had never seen a grape. Tasted delicious even so and it shows how versatile this vegetable is.

Happy days.

You can read the paper by Webb et al (Acute Blood Pressure Lowering, Vasoprotective, and Antiplatelet Properties of Dietary Nitrate via Bioconversion to Nitrite) and more information on beetroot (all aspects, from field to fork) can be found on our internet resource Nutrition and Food Sciences (a subscription is required). Another paper in the same issue of Hypertension by Knecht et al points out that high blood pressure reduces your cognitive performance…..

What else can beetroot do for you, and what can CABIs Global Health do for its subscribers today? Just look at the Reference list below.


  1. Historical developments in food science and technology – Indian perspective. Bawa, A. S. Journal of Food Science and Technology (Mysore), 2007, 44, 6, 553-564
  2. Evaluation of the antioxidant capacity of betalainic fruits and vegetables. Kugler, F. et al. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality, 2007, 81, 1, 69-76.
  3. In vitro effects of beet root juice on stimulated and unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Winkler, C et al. American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 2005, 1, 4, 180-185
  4. Awareness and usage of functional foods among health professionals and adult subjects. Arthi, N.  and Anuradha, K., Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics  , 2004, 41, 11, 494-499
  5. Betalains in beetroot and prickly pear fruit. Schmandke, H., Ernährungs-Umschau, 2005, 52, 2 , 56-58 
  6. Antioxidative properties of some vegetable products traditional for diets in Central Europe – short report. Bartoszek, A. et al. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2002, 11, 4, 67-70
  7. Betalains from red beetroot pigments (Beta vulgaris L.) Drunkler, D. A. et al, Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos  , 2003, 37, 1, 14-21 
  8. Chemoprevention of DMBA-induced UV-B promoted, NOR-1-induced TPA promoted skin carcinogenesis, and DEN-induced phenobarbital promoted liver tumors in mice by extract of beetroot. Kapadia, G. J. et al., Pharmacological Research, 2003, 47, 2, 141-148 

1 Comment

  1. North Sydney on 10th December 2008 at 2:26 pm

    No doubt Beetroot is an amazing vegetable with alot of potential of descreasing our blood pressure, even many docotors prescribe it to their Blood pressure patients, but is there any research to prove the use of Beetroot Juice with food?

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