High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious medical condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Making lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, exercising, and managing stress are important ways to help lower blood pressure. Drinking beet juice is one dietary approach that may also help.
What the Research Says
Beets contain high amounts of dietary nitrates which have been shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect. Dietary nitrates turn into nitric oxide in the body which causes blood vessels to dilate and relax, lowering blood pressure.
Several studies have found that drinking beet juice can lead to reductions in blood pressure:
- An analysis of 16 studies found that beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 4.7 mmHg on average.
- In one study, drinking 250ml of beet juice per day lowered systolic blood pressure by around 7 mmHg after 4 weeks.
- Research has found that the blood pressure lowering effects of beet juice may be seen within just 24 hours of consumption.
The blood pressure reductions from beet juice tend to be modest, but may help play a role in overall blood pressure management.
How Much to Drink
Most studies on beet juice and blood pressure have used around 250ml per day (around 1 cup). This seems to be an effective amount to get a blood pressure lowering benefit.
Some research also shows that combining beet juice with other vegetable juices like carrot or celery juice can further enhance the blood pressure reducing effects.
When to Drink
For the best results, aim to drink beet juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This ensures maximum absorption of the beneficial dietary nitrates.
Drinking beet juice about 2-3 hours before bed may also help lower next morning blood pressure due to its overnight blood pressure dipping effects.
Beet Juice Recipe
Try this simple beet juice recipe for high blood pressure:
- 3 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
- 3 carrots, scrubbed
- 1 apple, cored
- 1 inch ginger, peeled
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Wash and prepare the beets, carrots, apple and ginger.
- Cut ingredients into pieces that will fit through your juicer.
- Juice the ingredients and stir to combine.
- Add lemon juice and stir again.
- Pour into a glass and drink as soon as possible after making.
This beet juice recipe makes about 2 cups of juice. Drink 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the evening for best results.
Buying Pre-Made Beet Juice
As a convenient alternative to making your own, beet juice is also sold pre-made at many grocery stores and health food shops. Look for brands with minimal added sugars or preservatives.
Some beet juice drinks only contain around 30% beet juice, so check the label and aim for brands with a higher percentage of beet content.
How Else to Eat Beets for Blood Pressure
In addition to beet juice, eating cooked beets can also help lower blood pressure. Research has found consuming cooked beetroots can significantly reduce blood pressure within 3-4 hours of eating them.
Some easy ways to add cooked beets to your diet include:
- Roasting beet wedges tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper
- Sauteing shredded beets for a side dish
- Adding beets to salads
- Blending cooked beets into hummus or dips
Potential Side Effects
Beet juice and beets are safe for most people but there are some potential side effects to be aware of:
- Kidney stones – Beets are high in oxalate which can contribute to kidney stone development in prone individuals.
- Medication interactions – Beet juice can affect the absorption of certain medications like blood thinners. Check with your doctor.
- Beeturia – Beet pigments can turn urine and stools pink or red which is harmless.
- Sugar content – Store-bought beet juice can be high in added sugars.
Other Lifestyle Tips
Drinking beet juice can be a healthy addition to your diet as part of an overall blood pressure lowering plan. Here are some other lifestyle modifications to focus on:
- Following a healthy diet focused on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.
- Limiting added sugars, sweets, processed foods, salt and saturated/trans fats.
- Staying active with regular aerobic and strength-training exercise.
- Reaching or maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake.
- Reducing stress through meditation, yoga, walking, deep breathing, etc.
Partnering with your healthcare provider can help determine all the necessary lifestyle changes to best manage your blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Research shows drinking beet juice, about 1 cup per day, can modestly lower blood pressure levels, especially systolic blood pressure. For the best effects, drink beet juice first thing in the morning and pair it with other blood pressure friendly foods and lifestyle changes. Speak with your doctor to see if incorporating beet juice may be beneficial for you as part of an overall blood pressure management plan.