Nitrate-rich veggies may reduce salt-induced hypertension risk
Leafy green and root vegetables containing large amounts of nitrate confer substantial defence against salt-induced increases in blood pressure (BP), especially in the context of nonrestricted salt intake, a study has shown.
Researchers used an animal model of salt-induced hypertension, the Dahl salt-sensitive rat, and tested whether a relatively small increase in nitrate intake via oral administration of either a nitrate-rich vegetable product (beetroot juice) or sodium nitrate would attenuate increases in mean arterial pressure otherwise induced by a large increase in dietary sodium chloride.
Results showed that a low molar ratio of supplemental dietary sodium nitrate to added salt of 1:170 prevented the initiation of salt-induced BP increases in rats. Likewise, a low molar ratio of added nitrate to added salt of 1:110, achieved by supplementing the diet with beetroot, afforded substantial protection against salt-induced BP elevations.
Researchers pointed out that on a molar basis and a weight basis, dietary nitrate may be about a hundred times more potent than dietary potassium in terms of providing substantial resistance to the pressor effects of increased salt intake.
The present data have important clinical implications, such that it may inform new strategies for preventing salt-induced hypertension that does not require restricting salt intake or making major changes in dietary habits, they added.
Specifically, salty food products may be fortified with small amounts of a nitrate-rich vegetable concentrate in order to reduce the risk of salt-induced hypertension, researchers said.