Adding tiny amounts of beetroot or dietary nitrate to salty food products might help prevent high blood pressure, according to a preliminary study of rats.
To reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension, medical authorities have emphasized dietary guidelines promoting high intakes of potassium and low intakes of salt that provide molar ratios of potassium to salt of ≥1:1. However, during the past several decades, relatively few people have changed their eating habits sufficiently to reach the recommended dietary goals for salt and potassium. Thus, new strategies that reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension without requiring major changes in dietary habits would be of considerable medical interest. In the current studies in a widely used model of salt-induced hypertension, the Dahl salt-sensitive rat, we found that supplemental dietary sodium nitrate confers substantial protection from initiation of salt-induced hypertension when the molar ratio of added nitrate to added salt is only ≈1:170. Provision of a low molar ratio of added nitrate to added salt of ≈1:110 by supplementing the diet with beetroot also conferred substantial protection against salt-induced increases in blood pressure. The results suggest that on a molar basis and a weight basis, dietary nitrate may be ≈100× more potent than dietary potassium with respect to providing substantial resistance to the pressor effects of increased salt intake. Given that leafy green and root vegetables contain large amounts of inorganic nitrate, these findings raise the possibility that fortification of salty food products with small amounts of a nitrate-rich vegetable concentrate may provide a simple method for reducing risk for salt-induced hypertension.
Effects of supplemental sodium nitrate or beetroot on salt-induced increases in blood pressure. A, Time course of 24-h averages of systolicarterial pressure. B, Time course of 24-h averages of diastolic arterial pressure. C, Mean changes in systolic arterial pressure induced by salt loading. D, Mean changes in diastolic arterial pressure induced by salt loading. *P < 0.05.
Morris Jr, R. Curtis - Pravenec, Michal - Šilhavý, Jan - DiCarlo, E. Stephen - Kurtz, W. Theodore: Small amounts of inorganic nitrate or beetroot provide substantial protection from salt-induced increases in blood pressure. Hypertension. Roč. 73, 2019. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12234. [Epub ahead of print]. ISSN 0194-911X, IF: 6.857.