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Beetroot may reduce blood pressure

New research suggests that people should drink a daily glass of beetroot juice if they want to lower their blood pressure.

British researchers found that drinking 500 millilitres of the dark red juice led to dramatic reductions in blood pressure within hours.

The scientists traced the effect to nitrate in the beetroot that reacts with bacteria in the mouth.

They said this led to chemical changes which resulted in blood vessels dilating to increase blood flow.

Other vegetables also contain high levels of nitrates, especially green leafy varieties such as spinach and lettuce.

Study leader Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, from the William Harvey Research Institute at London's St Bartholomew's Hospital, said: "Our research suggests that drinking beetroot juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and might also be an additional approach that one could take in the modern day battle against rising blood pressure."

High blood pressure is linked to half of all heart disease cases and about three quarters of all strokes.

Each year, heart and artery disease kills more than 110,000 people in England alone.

William Harvey Research Institute

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