Hypertension (high blood pressure) is now a common problem, and it is most often seen in middle aged men. There are a number of reasons for this, but stress, lack of exercise, and a less than perfect diet are all culprits. High blood pressure (anything over 140/90) can greatly increase risk of stroke, heart disease or heart failure, and even dementia in later life.
If your doctor has told you that your blood pressure is too high, this should be a call to action – and that doesn’t just mean driving to the drug store to pick up a prescription for Bisoprolol. Using drugs to treat acute high blood pressure can literally save your life in the short term, but using drugs is not a good long term solution. They all have side effects – some are mild and not overtly noticeable, but all drugs place an additional load on the body in some way. Which finally brings me to my point: There are proven natural methods for safely and effectively controlling high blood pressure.
You may remember that in a previous article I talked about using celery juice to treat a number of “men’s health” issues (it’s worth a read for all guys of all ages), and that this included controlling hypertension. I still use celery juice myself, but I now want to point out that by regularly using beetroot juice blood pressure can be even more effectively reduced.
In 2010 a study was performed and released by the William Harvey Research Institute in London, which found that by drinking daily just 250ml of beetroot juice blood pressure was reduced comparably to taking proprietary hypertension drugs. The researchers noted that blood pressure levels decreased more in men than in women, and that significant effects were measured within 24 hours. View the official abstract of the study: Inorganic nitrate supplementation lowers blood pressure in humans: role for nitrite-derived NO. Just be warned, it’s not light reading
Unfortunately the study does not mention whether fresh or commercial beet juice was used, but I would suggest it was probably a pasteurised form. Fresh beetroot juice benefits should be even greater, since one would benefit not only from the nitrate content which the researchers found directly reduced blood pressure, but also from the wide range of intact nutrients and enzymes that one finds in raw juice. 250ml (1 cup) of fresh beetroot juice daily would be fantastic for anyone worried about hypertension.
How to make beetroot juice at home:
There is no need to peel when making a beetroot juice recipe, unless the skins are moldy or otherwise look bad. Just give them a scrub under running water, and scrape off any shrivelled up roots. I always juice the tops (the leaves) as well for a greener juice with extra kick, but this is optional. Even without leaves the beetroot juice benefits are there.
Beets are a lot tougher than they look, and unless you have a very powerful juicer work slowly. All the juicers I have used struggle with very large whole bits, so when making beetroot juice I recommend cutting them into smaller cubes.
It takes 2-3 large beetroot to make a cup of juice. Ideally drink the juice as fresh as possible, but it seems to keep for up to 2 days for me in the fridge. Mixing juices is fine, and I find beet goes well with celery for a bit more volume (celery is very mild). Apple and carrot are also good additions for a sweeter beetroot juice recipe.
If you drink a lot of it, beetroot juice side effects will show up as a mild stomach upset and/ or diarrhoea. This is no big deal, simply reduce your intake until you feel alright again. You can’t overdose even if you are making beetroot juice like you can on a drug, so don’t worry.
One thing that is worth mentioning are the slightly scary beetroot juice side effects you may get, of bright red urine and stools – this can look really scary (because it looks like blood!) but this normal, so you can relax! Ideally if your body is very healthy and you have a good balance of stomach acid in your gut you will not get this coloring effect, but even so it is nothing to worry about. It will usually go away within 1-2 days.