Imbibing one cup of beetroot juice may lower blood pressure, finds a new study in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

In the small study, involving eight women and seven men who had systolic (top number) blood pressure between 140 and 159 mm Hg but no other health conditions and were not taking blood-pressure-lowering medications, those who drank eight ounces daily of the dark-red elixir experienced blood pressure drops up to 10 mm Hg, according to researchers. Study participants drank 250 mL of beetroot juice or water with a small amount of nitrate, then one day later had their blood pressure measured.

The beetroot juice contained about .2 g of dietary nitrate, roughly the same that could be found in a large bowl of leafy greens or in arthritis and heart disease adtwo beetroots. Nitrate converts to nitrite in the body, and then to nitric oxide, which expands blood vessels and enhances blood flow. Benefits were found to be strongest three to six hours after drinking the beetroot juice.

In addition to beetroot juice,  green leafy veggies are also high in nitrate and may be blood-pressure-lowering. If you would like to try beetroot juice but are concerned that you may not enjoy the flavor, consider getting a juicer (you can nab a starter juicer for as little as $60) so you can whip up blends of beetroot juice mixed with sweeter fruit juices, such as apple or pear.

These findings are considered preliminary, stress researchers, and more research is needed.

Have You experimented and found creative ways to mix beetroot juice with other juices that taste delicious?

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