Beta vulgaris, is commonly called beet (in English), 甜菜根(in Chinese) and Kamus (in Malay) is a deep red colour vegetable. The beetroot can be eaten normally with grilled, boiled and cooked. Beetroot can also be blended to make juice and drink it freshly. Beetroot contains high levels of antioxidants and nutrients. It could be used to reduce high blood pressure. However, the clinical trials failed to proof it.
A study published in Hypertension journal, American Heart Association reported that blood pressure was reduced after consumption of beetroot juice. In the studies, 14 healthy volunteers were asked to drink 500 ml of beetroot juice. From the results obtained, blood pressure were reduced after three hours of the beetroot juice. It was correlated to the increase levels of plasma nitrite concentration. Beetroot juice contains high level of nitrate. Studies proposed that nitrate is reduced to nitrite by bacteria on the dorsal surface of tongue. Nitrite is then swallowed into stomach. Acidic environment in stomach reduce nitrite to nitrix oxide (NO). NO and nitrite are absorbed in the small intestine. Nitrite is transported in blood circulation. In the resistance vessels, nitrite is reduced to NO. NO has the dilator and anti-inflammatory properties. It dilate (widens) blood vessels and the reduce the blood pressure. Consequently, cardiovascular related diseases such as pre-hypertension, hypertension, atherosclerosis and stroke could be reduced with the NO bioactivity.