Culinary Rx: Beet Juice vs Drugs for High Blood Pressure


Almost one-third of all adults in the Western world suffer from high blood pressure. For those over 65 the number reaches 50%.

Blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The first number (systolic) measures blood pressure when your heart is pumping. The lower number (diastolic) measures your blood pressure when your heart rests in between beats. A healthy blood pressure reading would be 115/70.

Once your blood pressure reading exceeds 120/80 and remains there for an extended period of time, medical complications begin to appear, especially increased risk of stroke. The higher your blood pressure goes, the greater the risk of a serious medical complication.

A study was done at Queen Mary University of London and published in the journal Hypertension. In the trial, 64 patients ranging in age from 18-85 participated. One group was given 8.5 ounces (250 ml)/day of beetroot juice and the other group was given 8.5 ounces (250 ml) of a placebo. The groups consumed their juice daily for 4 weeks. The following are the results of the trial as well as what results the average blood pressure medication achieves:

Blood Pressure Reduction

 Systolic  Diastolic
Beetroot juice  8 mmHg  4 mmHg
Placebo juice  0  0
Average blood pressure medication  5-9 mmHg  3-5 mmHg

Those taking the placebo juice had no change in their blood pressure. Those taking the beet juice had a significant reduction in blood pressure equaling or exceeding what could be achieved by a patient taking one medication. The significant difference between beet juice and medication is that the beet juice has none of the following side effects that medications have:

  • Weakness, leg cramps, and fatigue
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Dry Hacking Cough
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular Heart Beats

What most people are not aware of is that the majority of patients taking medication to lower their blood pressures are on approximately 3 different medications and even then 35% do not have normal blood pressure.

If the above side effects were not bad enough, research has shown that there is little to no evidence that an otherwise healthy individual with systolic blood pressure of 160 or less gains any health benefits whatsoever from taking a medication. That means you risk all the potential side effects with little prospect of preventing any of the complications that high blood pressure may result in.

Beets not only reduce blood pressure. They also have an impact on athletic performance, blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and antioxidant levels.

Unfortunately, the beet lobby does not carry much weight at the FDA! If any government were serious about improving public health outcomes they would finance a large-scale clinical trial (with nutritional analyses) testing beet juice (as well as other foods) against currently prescribed medications. Do not expect this to happen any time in the near future.

When dealing with any medical condition an individual must become as informed as possible so that they can evaluate any recommendations their physician makes in light of the actual research – and not simply assume that the physician has presented the best possible solution.

You – the patient – are ultimately in charge of your own health.


Eliezer Greenspan
Eliezer writes on issues of public health including nutrition, exercise, and effectiveness of drugs and medical procedures. He has trained in a course as an EMT, is certified by Dr. John McDougall in the Starch Solution program, and continues to expand his medical knowledge by taking courses offered by major universities and medical schools – ranging from Epidemiology to Vaccine Safety. He is currently studying to be a Plant-Based Chef. He lectures throughout Israel and offers courses and training online. More details and articles can be found at his website "The Fountain of Youth" ( On Facebook: