Beetroot 'protects from heart disease'
VIDEO It got the blood pumping for the Romans and now it seems beetroot juice is making something of a comeback.While in Roman times it was used as an aphrodisiac, a study released this week found that drinking 500ml of the purple stuff a day can significantly reduce blood pressure.
IT got the blood pumping for the Romans and now it seems beetroot juice is making something of a comeback.
While in Roman times it was used as an aphrodisiac, a study released this week found that drinking 500ml of the purple stuff a day can significantly reduce blood pressure.
And while some may grimace at the thought of it, people on the streets of Ipswich who were given a free sample, were giving it the thumbs up.
The study carried out by Barts and the London School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School found that in healthy volunteers, blood pressure was reduced within an hour of drinking the juice.
The unusual drink is sold at Holland & Barrett on Westgate Street, Ipswich, although a woman at the store conceded it is not currently a big seller.
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Researcher Professor Amrita Ahluwalia said that the research suggest drinking beetroot juice or other nitrate-rich vegetables might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician, at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “This study begins to explore in more detail how vegetables offer protection against heart and circulatory disease and in doing so, confirms our existing knowledge about the health benefits of consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
“While beetroot juice was used in this study, it is unlikely that people will be able to - or wish to - consume it in the quantities used in the research.
“Although we know that eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables as part of a well balanced diet is beneficial to heart health, we do not know yet whether there are certain fruits or vegetables that are more helpful than others and so for now, people should continue to choose a wide variety in achieving their five a day”.
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Valerie Potter, 66, of West Mersea.
“I enjoyed it. “I like it because it isn't sweet and I think I would quite like to drink it.”
Terry Magee, 53, of Colchester.
“I thought it was very pleasant.”
Maria Alcock, 52, of Rushmere St Andrew.
“It's like soup. “It is very nice and it might be a good thing to drink.”
Caroline Welham, 58, of Ramsgate Drive, Ipswich.
“I would recommend it. It is not too sweet and not too sour. “It's very nice. “I would drink it and you don't have to worry about getting drunk on it.”
Kathy, 33, of Roebeck Road, Ipswich.
“It's nice but I'm into a lot of health food stuff anyway. “I find they have a positive effect.
“I usually eat a lot of beetroot in the summer.
Rob Nunn, 31, of Roebeck Road, Ipswich.
“It's enjoyable and I think I would drink it for health purposes, if I had high blood pressure.
“I wouldn't drink it for refreshment though.”
The key beneficial ingredient in beetroot appears to be nitrate, which also appears in green, leafy vegetables.
Researchers at Barts and the London School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, found that nitrate in the juice is converted in saliva, by bacteria on the tongue, into nitrite.
The saliva containing nitrite is converted into nitric oxide in the stomach or re-enters the circulation as nitrite and is thought to reduce blood pressure.
Beetroot also contains betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used to treat depression.
The Romans considered beetroot an aphrodisiac. They believed that if a man and a woman eat from the same beetroot, they would fall in love.