Diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. But we are not sure why… New research from Barts and the London School of Medicine suggests compounds called nitrates found in green leafy vegetables may be responsible. This work showed that drinking 500ml of beetroot juice a day lowered blood pressure within an hour, the effect lasted for up to 24 hours. More than a quarter of the world’s adults have high blood pressure and it is estimated that this figure will increase to nearly a third by 2025. Consuming nitrate-rich vegetables could be a simple way to protect heart health.
Webb AJ, Patel N, Loukogeorgakis S, Okorie M, Aboud Z, Misra S, Rashid R, Miall P, Deanfield J, Benjamin N, Macallister R, Hobbs AJ, Ahluwalia A. 2008. Acute Blood Pressure Lowering, Vasoprotective, and Antiplatelet Properties of Dietary Nitrate via Bioconversion to Nitrite. Hypertension. 51 (3) 784-790.