Related Topics: Diet, Menopause

Beet Juice and Blueberries For Reducing High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is common at menopause, along with weight gain. Tackling oestrogen dominance will certainly help as will adding these two ‘B’s’ to your daily diet.

Dr Andrew Weil

Two new studies have shown that drinking beet juice (known as beetroot juice in Great Britain) or eating blueberries can help reduce blood pressure. One of these studies comes from researchers in London who report that drinking a daily dose of beetroot juice lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension.

How these two foods can help

The beverage also reduced arterial stiffness among the participants. The investigators credit the nitrate in the juice with the changes. They randomly divided 68 people with high blood pressure into two groups and assigned one group to drink 250 mL (just over a cup) of beetroot juice daily and the other group to drink a similar tasting beverage that contained no nitrate. The study lasted for four weeks.

The blueberry study comes from Florida State University where researchers randomly divided 40 postmenopausal women with high blood pressure into two groups. Those in one group were assigned to eat 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder (equivalent to a cup of blueberries) every day for eight weeks. The women in the other group were given a placebo that looked and tasted like the blueberry powder.

Results showed a 5.1 percent decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 6.3 percent decrease in diastolic pressure in the blueberry group. Here, levels of nitric oxide, known to be involved in relaxing and widening blood vessels, increased significantly in the blueberry eaters. No blood pressure changes occurred among the women in the placebo group.

What else can you do?

In women, oestrogen dominance and the synthetic hormones found in HRT/Coil and oral contraceptives are the major cause of hypertension. Oestrogen and synthetic progestins in these drugs adversely affect cell membranes resulting in sodium and water influx into cells (causing water retention) and loss of potassium and magnesium. In women not on synthetic hormones it is usually associated with progesterone deficiency.

Supplementing with bioidentical progesterone helps reduce high blood pressure as it acts as a diuretic. This helps reduce weight as excess water is excreted and the blood pressure can then return to normal.

Although not specifically contraindicated, if you are already taking diuretics or other anti-hypertensive drugs and using progesterone, it is wise to monitor your blood pressure and discuss your dosage need for such drugs with your doctor in order to prevent low blood pressure.

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Be sure your body is converting the blueberry-beetroot cocktail to nitric oxide by monitoring your saliva levels after 2 hrs. Natural whole foods, such as beets and leafy greens, are a great way to sustain your total nitric oxide body bioavailability. And remember not all beet juice and powders have the same nitric oxide potency. Plant-based diets for a healthy heart is the best way to go.

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