The Romans reportedly used beetroot for treating fevers and constipation. During the Middle Ages, the vegetable was favored for curing digestive and blood disorders. Today, science is catching up with ancient, traditional and historic practices. Researchers have found that beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
The body takes the nitrate found in beets and changes it into nitric oxide, a natural chemical in the body. Nitric oxide is known to have a beneficial effect on the lining inside blood vessels.
“It causes the vessels to open up, thereby improving blood flow and lowering pressure.” says Dr. Marc Silver, a cardiologist specializing in heart failure at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
During the six week study, patients on drug therapy for high blood pressure and individuals not currently taking medication, were divided into two treatment groups, with one group receiving beetroot juice and the other a placebo juice.
Researchers found that those drinking the beetroot juice had reduced blood pressure measurements just one week after beginning the study. During the final week of the study the participants’ blood pressure was at their lowest point.
“The drop in blood pressure among study participants consuming beetroot juice was as good or better as the results we see from standard blood pressure medications,” says Dr. Silver. “The study demonstrates that use of dietary nitrate can be an affordable and readily available adjunct to traditional treatment for high blood pressure.”
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the beetroot is said the strengthen the heart, calms the mind and spirit, improves circulation and nourishes the blood, benefits the liver, intestines and promotes menstruation. The beetroot is also incredibly rich in nutrients, with high concentrations of vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium, as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin.
Is it any wonder that the beetroot is looked at as a superfood with many nutritional qualities as these.
I like to make a beetroot kvass which is a traditional fermented recipe from Russia. Its said to drink the kvass is to taste the blood of the earth.
Here is a recipe on how to make beetroot kvass for yourself.