Adding small amounts of beetroot or dietary nitrate to saline foods can help prevent high blood pressure according to an initial study of rats.
While results in animals cannot be translated into humans, researchers in the new study in the American Heart Association journal released hypertension – hope to find a new tool to help fight the epidemic of high salt diet, a major risk factor for hypertension.
Benefits of Potassium
Globally, most people consume about twice the recommended salt level according to the World Health Organization. High consumption of sodium and not enough potassium can contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Medical experts have long advised people not only to eat less salt, but to eat more potassium-rich fruits and vegetables that reduce the effects of sodium on cardiovascular health. But people do not always follow these advice.
"We've had these education campaigns for years, but people don't eat more potassium, and the average salt intake in the American population of hypertensive people has actually increased." said Dr. Theodore W. Kurtz, the study's lead author and professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. "We must come up with new ways to prevent salt-induced hypertension."
For the study, salt-sensitive rats were given salt along with small amounts of beet juice or diet nitrate 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 1
If these results could be replicated in humans, it could provide a method for reducing salt-induced high blood pressure by simply adding a nitrate concentrate to certain salt foods, Kurtz says.
"We suggest that producers of products loaded with salt – soy sauce, hot sauce and barbecue sauce – can add a very small amount of an extract from a nitrate-rich vegetable, and this would protect against salt-induced hypertension without reduce the salt or change the taste of the product, "said Kurtz, a consultant, board member and stockholder of a company that holds patents for nitrate-rich vegetable extracts.
A sodium epidemic
Knowing how dietary nitrate affects health has grown sharply since 1998, when the Nobel Prize was awarded to the discovery that nitric oxide is a signal molecule in the cardiovascular system and can reduce blood pressure. Since then, scientists have learned that diet nitrate acts as a precursor to nitric oxide.
"This is an important study that may have an impact on treating a sodium epidemic that contributes to a branching increase in cardiovascular disease and stroke globally," Dr. Stephen Juraschek, an internal medical specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a teaching hospital in Harvard Medical School.
Juraschek, who was not involved in the research, said the results were limited by the short-term nature of the study and should be followed up with strict clinical trials in humans.
He also said, regardless of their benefits, dietary nitrate supplements are likely to never catch all the benefits of eating diets rich in fruits and vegetables, such as the Mediterranean diet or DASH, which accounts for dietary conditions to stop hypertension. Both diets have been identified in the latest guidelines by the AHA and the American College of Cardiology to prevent heart disease and stroke. Root and green, green vegetables are features of the DASH diet.
"Innovation is important, but at the back, it is difficult to distill a healthy diet down to a single element. We must all increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables that have benefits that go beyond mere blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. "Juraschek said.
"We all want to know," What is the silver ball that could correct the blood pressure? "But I think a holistic approach and eating nutritious food is still the best answer."
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