Acute ingestion of beetroot bread increases endothelium-independent vasodilation and lowers diastolic blood pressure in healthy men: a randomized controlled trial

J Nutr. 2013 Sep;143(9):1399-405. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.175778. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Dietary nitrate, from beetroot, has been reported to lower blood pressure (BP) by the sequential reduction of nitrate to nitrite and further to NO in the circulation. However, the impact of beetroot on microvascular vasodilation and arterial stiffness is unknown. In addition, beetroot is consumed by only 4.5% of the UK population, whereas bread is a staple component of the diet. Thus, we investigated the acute effects of beetroot bread (BB) on microvascular vasodilation, arterial stiffness, and BP in healthy participants. Twenty-three healthy men received 200 g bread containing 100 g beetroot (1.1 mmol nitrate) or 200 g control white bread (CB; 0 g beetroot, 0.01 mmol nitrate) in an acute, randomized, open-label, controlled crossover trial. The primary outcome was postprandial microvascular vasodilation measured by laser Doppler iontophoresis and the secondary outcomes were arterial stiffness measured by Pulse Wave Analysis and Velocity and ambulatory BP measured at regular intervals for a total period of 6 h. Plasma nitrate and nitrite were measured at regular intervals for a total period of 7 h. The incremental area under the curve (0-6 h after ingestion of bread) for endothelium-independent vasodilation was greater (P = 0.017) and lower for diastolic BP (DBP; P = 0.032) but not systolic (P = 0.99) BP after BB compared with CB. These effects occurred in conjunction with increases in plasma and urinary nitrate (P < 0.0001) and nitrite (P < 0.001). BB acutely increased endothelium-independent vasodilation and decreased DBP. Therefore, enriching bread with beetroot may be a suitable vehicle to increase intakes of cardioprotective beetroot in the diet and may provide new therapeutic perspectives in the management of hypertension.

Trial registration: NCT01706718.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beta vulgaris*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bread*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet*
  • Endothelium / physiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diet therapy
  • Male
  • Nitrates / administration & dosage
  • Nitrates / blood
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Plant Roots
  • Systole
  • Vascular Stiffness
  • Vasodilation*
  • Vegetables*


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites

Associated data