beets, beets for better blood pressure

With concerns about contaminated antihypertensive medications, many people are interested in ways to lower their blood pressure without drugs. There is a wide range of options: exercise, weight loss, slow breathing, the relaxation response. Some people look for a beverage that might hold the key. One possibility is hibiscus tea. Another is beet juice. Have you tried eating beets for better blood pressure?

Can You Use Beets for Better Blood Pressure?

Q. I have read that beets lower blood pressure, but there is controversy about whether only raw ungrated (i. e. not oxidized) beets lower blood pressure or also grated and cooked beets do. Can you clarify this question?

A. Most of the research involves beetroot juice. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded that the juice lowers blood pressure (Advances in Nutrition, Nov. 15, 2017).

We have not seen research comparing grated beets to beetroot juice. A study comparing beet juice to cooked beets found that both lowered blood pressure, but beet juice reduced several additional markers of inflammation such as hs-CRP more than cooked beets (Journal of Human Hypertension, Oct. 2016). In addition, beet juice was better at lowering cholesterol levels. But if blood pressure is your primary interest, cooked beets or even beet powder might work well enough.

One reader offered this testimonial:

“I recently had my blood pressure increase (140 over 90). I am now taking beet powder. I add this to food or water. It has a pleasant taste, not very beety. My blood pressure now is in the normal range.”

Beyond Beets for Better Blood Pressure:

Beet juice is not the only vegetable juice that can increase nitric oxide levels in the blood vessels and help them relax. (This is probably a big part of the way beets lower blood pressure.) One study found that beverages made with spinach or rocket salad (arugula) could also bring blood pressure down (Journal of Nutrition, May 2016). Other scientists found that chard gel brought systolic blood pressure down about as much as beet juice (Nitric Oxide, April 1, 2017).

For those interested in the exact mechanism, this article in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Jan. 2017) may be of interest.

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  1. david
    NV
    Reply

    The inorganic nitrates in beets lower blood pressure, but inorganic nitrates are quickly metabolized. If beets lower blood pressure for 4-6 hours, it does little good. Nitroprusside is a very fast acting, but short duration way to lower blood pressure with inorganic nitrates.

  2. ruby
    Washington County, roper
    Reply

    I really don’t want to take iron pills, does pickled beets or just right out of a can help build iron needed for my low iron report, tks

  3. Bob
    South Carolina
    Reply

    Beets have a reputation of creating kidney stones. The question is can you consume beets on a regular basis and by keeping properly hydrated eliminate the possibility of developing a kidney stone? Drinking a lot of water supposedly keeps stone from forming. I’ve passed two stones and it is no fun so I’m leery about eating anything beet related.

  4. Cathy
    NC
    Reply

    I took beet capsules for one week then developed a kidney stone and had to have surgery to remove it. Not sure if it was connected to the beet capsules. Not fun at all.

  5. Margaret
    Georgia
    Reply

    I researched beet juice for lowering blood pressure and was intrigued to find studies showing it enhances athletic performance, especially in endurance sports. As much as 15% in trained athletes, per one study. The studies said it improves blood flow to muscles, especially in running and swimming events. Curious, I made and drank fresh beet juice about 2 hours (the recommended time interval before performing) before my next visit to the gym. I am certainly no athlete, but the trainer was amazed, as was I. I think it also lowered my blood pressure but didn’t keep a record, so not making any claims on this yet.

  6. Jim
    Reply

    Six months ago I started taking beet capsules (Beta vulgarist root) 605 mg twice a day. Within a week my systolic blood pressure had dropped 10 points from about 140 to 130 or less and stayed there. So I am a believer.

  7. Rox
    CA
    Reply

    I was wondering if beet juice or beet powder can be taken while on blood thinners.

    • Terry Graedon
      Reply

      There does not appear to be an interaction with warfarin, so long as you don’t juice the leaves along with the root.

  8. Lyn
    Seattle, WA
    Reply

    I have Type II Diabetes so don’t eat cooked beets unless they’re pickled. There are a lot of sugars and carbs in beets, and I don’t know if I can eat them. Advice from anyone with Diabetes?

  9. Jim
    CT
    Reply

    I have read that beets could cause kidney stones. I have always enjoyed beets as a side dish. I started eating beets with meals more often to control blood pressure. Several years ago I started having occasional blood in my urine, until one day I had a severe kidney stone that took 5 days to pass.

  10. Dagonet
    DFW
    Reply

    Beet juice, fresh from a masticating home juicer? Bottled (store bought)? Brand? Powders, capsules? How much? How often? Any good borscht recipes?

    Any ideas people, I’m all ears…

  11. Lida
    Ohio
    Reply

    Just how much beet juice per day would be required to lower blood pressure? And for the person who mentioned using beet powder I wish we could know how much used and how many times a day? I love the information on your site but there are often gaps.

    • Dennis L.
      New Jersey
      Reply

      Yes, using powdered beets is a highly convenient popular option and can be bought in bulk quantities by the kilogram from bulksupplements.com; in answer to your question one would need about one level tablespoon per day mixed up into a two quart thermos along with two level teaspoons of potassium chloride and one level teaspoon of magnesium glycinate(as potassium excretes sodium and magnesium helps to keep arteries relaxed); the use of powdered beets, potassium chloride and magnesium glycinate is very safe conservative dosing and one can safely drink from the two quart thermos a cup at a time all throughout the day to help keep ones blood stream fully saturated with the nitric oxide, potassium chloride and magnesium glycinate at stable levels throughout the day very readily and easily.

  12. Lisa
    Orange County CA
    Reply

    So, is there a difference between bottled beet juice and the juice from raw beets that have been through a juicer? The bottled is tasty and convenient but I wonder if it’s doing me any good.

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