Adding beetroot to salty foods may prevent high Blood Pressure, finds American Heart Association Study.
Promoting high intakes of potassium and low intakes of salt have long been known to reduce the risk of salt-induced high blood pressure (hypertension). A recent study published in the journal Hypertension has offered a better solution, according to which addition of small amount of beetroot or dietary nitrate to salty food product may provide protection against high BP.
These are the findings of preliminary research done on rats. While findings in animals may not translate to humans, Theodore W. Kurtz, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues — hope to find a new tool to help battle the epidemic of high-salt diets, a major risk factor for hypertension.
Medical authorities have emphasized dietary guidelines promoting high intakes of potassium and low intakes of salt that provide molar ratios of potassium to a salt of ≥1:1 to reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension. However, during the past several decades, relatively few people have changed their eating habits sufficiently to reach the recommended dietary goals for salt and potassium. Thus, there is a need for new strategies that could reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension without requiring major changes in dietary habits would be of considerable medical interest.
“We’ve had these educational campaigns for years, but people aren’t eating more potassium, and the average salt intake in the U.S. population in hypertensive people has actually increased,” said Dr. Kurtz.”We need to come up with new ways of preventing salt-induced hypertension.”
For the study, salt-sensitive rats were given salt along with small amounts of beetroot juice or dietary nitrate, which is found in root and leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, and celery. Researchers found that both the juice and the nitrate supplement were more than 100 times more potent than potassium in protecting rats against salt-induced increases in blood pressure.
If those results could be replicated in humans, it could provide a method for reducing salt-induced high blood pressure simply by adding a nitrate concentrate to certain salty foods, Kurtz said.
“We’re suggesting that manufacturers of products laden with salt – soy sauce, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce – could add a very small amount of an extract from a nitrate-rich vegetable, and this would protect against salt-induced hypertension without reducing the salt or altering the taste of the product,” said Kurtz, who is an advisor, board member and stockholder of a company that holds patents for nitrate-rich vegetable extracts.
“Given that leafy green and root vegetables contain large amounts of inorganic nitrate, these findings raise the possibility that fortification of salty food products with small amounts of a nitrate-rich vegetable concentrate may provide a simple method for reducing the risk for salt-induced hypertension,” write the authors.
For detailed study log on to https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12234