Background. Despite research aimed at understanding the mechanisms of essential hypertension, instances of this condition continue to rise. Recent findings indicate that the administration of dietary nitrates, in the form of beetroot juice and other nitrate-rich vegetables, may offer anti-hypertensive effects in various study populations.
Objective. This randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial sought to compare the effects of high-nitrate vegetable salads to the effects of low-nitrate canned vegetables on plasma nitrate
itrite concentration, peripheral and central-aortic systolic and diastolic blood pressures, pulse wave velocity, and flow-mediated dilation.
Methods. Healthy, post-menopausal women (n=5; 80% Caucasian; 52.6 ± 5.7 years) with mildly elevated blood pressure (mean blood pressure ≥ 115/70 mm Hg and < 140/80 mm Hg) were randomly assigned to ingest a fresh, high-nitrate vegetable salad or a low-nitrate vegetable medley, twice per day, for a total of 10 consecutive days. Given the crossover design of the trial, participants observed a two to three week washout period followed by reassignment to the opposite condition. Findings were considered significant at a p-value < 0.05, and Wilcoxon Signed-Rank tests compared mean differences between conditions.
Results. Plasma nitrate
itrite concentration was significantly higher following consumption of the high-nitrate versus the low-nitrate condition (p = 0.043). Conversely, the differences in peripheral systolic and diastolic blood pressures were not statistically significant (p = 0.345 and p = 0.684 for systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively) nor were the differences in central-aortic systolic and diastolic blood pressures statistically significant (p = 0.225 and p = 0.465 for systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively). Similarly, when comparing the effects of the high-nitrate condition to the low-nitrate condition, the difference in pulse wave velocity was not statistically significant (p = 0.465). Finally, flow-mediated dilation tended to improve following consumption of the high nitrate condition (p = 0.080).
Conclusion. Twice daily consumption of a fresh, high-nitrate vegetable salad significantly increased plasma nitrate
itrite concentration. Although the trial was underpowered, there was a trend for improved flow-mediated dilation. Finally, twice daily consumption of a fresh, high-nitrate vegetable salad did not significantly lower peripheral or central-aortic systolic or diastolic blood pressures or pulse wave velocity.