Scientists from King’s College London found that grapefruit juice could enhance the blood pressure lowering effect of beetroot juice.
Beets are rich in folate (vitamin B9) which helps cells grow and function. Folate plays a key role in controlling damage to blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Beets are naturally high in nitrates, which are turned into nitric oxide in the body. This compound relaxes and widens blood vessels, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
Previous research has found that dietary nitrate from beetroot juice lowers blood pressure.
Grapefruit is low in calories but very rich in nutrients. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Grapefruit is low on the glycemic index. It provides nutrients but does not have a significant negative impact on a person’s blood sugar levels.
In addition, the combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C, and choline in grapefruit could all contribute to heart health.
In this study, researchers aimed to see if grapefruit juice would enhance blood-pressure-lowering with beetroot juice by maintaining circulating nitrite.
Previous research has found grapefruit juice appears to have inhibited the metabolic conversion of nitrate to nitrite.
The team tested 11 healthy volunteers who attended on 3 occasions, receiving:
A 70-mL shot of active beetroot juice (Beet-It) and 250 mL grapefruit juice; or active beetroot juice with 250 mL water, or placebo with not beetroot juice and grapefruit juice.
The researchers found that the addition of grapefruit juice to active beetroot juice lowered systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure compared with beetroot juice plus water.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
The top number (systolic) minus the bottom number (diastolic) is the pulse pressure.
The team found five hours after drinking beetroot juice and grapefruit juice, participants’ systolic blood pressure decreased by -3.3 mmHg.
Two and a half hours after drinking beetroot juice and grapefruit juice, participants’ systolic blood pressure decreased by -4.2 mmHg.
The team concluded that grapefruit juice enhanced beetroot juice’s effect on lowering systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure despite decreasing the nitrite level in the blood.
The research is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and was conducted by Kevin O’Gallagher et al.
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