According to a report from the American Heart Association, high blood pressure (HBP) contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths per day. For this reason, it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly — and get treatment if you have it.
What causes high blood pressure?
The exact causes of HBP are not known. However, some things may play a major role in its development, including:
- smoking habit
- being overweight
- lack of physical activity
- too much salt in the diet
- drinking too much alcohol (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
- older age
- family history of high blood pressure (heredity)
- race (African Americans have high blood pressure more often and more severely than White Americans)
- having chronic kidney disease
Can children get high blood pressure?
The answer is YES, although high blood pressure is less common in children. Regular blood pressure checkups should begin during childhood and continue throughout adulthood.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms. You can have high blood pressure for years without even knowing it. That is why it is often called a “silent killer.” The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure during your office visits.
About the beetroot vegetable
The beetroot or is a root vegetable, scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. It is also known as red beet, table beet, garden beet, or simply beet.
The beetroot juice has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure and increased exercise performance. Many of these health benefits are due to their high content of inorganic nitrates.
Beetroots mainly consist of water (87%), carbohydrates (8%) and fiber (2-3%). One cup (136 grams) of boiled beetroots contains less than 60 calories.
Beetroot nutrition facts
Beetroots are a great source of many essential nutrients that is vitamins and minerals.
- Folate (B9): One of the B-vitamins, important for normal tissue growth and cell function. It is particularly important for pregnant women.
- Manganese: An essential trace element, found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
- Potassium: A diet high in potassium can lead to reduced blood pressure levels, and have positive effects on cardiovascular health.
- Iron: An essential mineral, which has many important functions in the body. It is necessary for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.
- Vitamin C: An antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health.
Plant compounds are natural plant substances, some of which have beneficial effects in humans. These are the main plant compounds in beetroots:
- Betanin: Also called beetroot red, betanin is the most common pigment in beetroots, responsible for their strong red color. It is believed to have various health benefits.
- Inorganic nitrate: Found in generous amounts in green leafy vegetables, beetroot and beetroot juice. In the body, it can transform into nitric oxide, which has many important functions.
- Vulgaxanthin: A yellow or orange pigment found in beetroots and yellow beets.
Beetroot effects in people with HBP
Beetroots can lower blood pressure, which may lead to reduced risk of heart disease and several other diseases. Studies have shown that beetroots, or beetroot juice, can reduce blood pressure by up to 3-10 mm/Hg over a period of a few hours!
The reason it works so fast is this one: Beets contain dietary nitrate, which your body converts into a gas (nitric oxide) that expands blood vessels and aids blood flow. Also, dietary nitrates have been shown to reduce oxygen use during physical exercise by affecting the efficiency of mitochondria, the cell organs responsible for producing energy.
Having this in mind, we offer you a simple smoothie from the nutritionist Dana White, RD, which contains a heart-healthy trifecta of nitrate, magnesium and potassium.
Prep time: 5 minutes
1½ c pineapple chunks
½ c sliced cooked beets
¼ c celery leaves
1 c vanilla almond milk
½ c fresh orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Divide between 2 chilled glasses. (Makes 3 cups.)
Nutrition (per serving): 153 cal, 2 g pro, 35 g carb, 3 g fiber, 28 g sugars, 1.5 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 110 mg sodium
Beetroots are usually well tolerated, except for individuals who are prone to kidney stones. Consumption of beetroot (or beetroot juice) may cause urine to become pink/red, which is harmless but often confused with blood in urine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Accessed on February 6, 2015 at http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/docs/fs_bloodpressure.pdf