A beetroot drink a day may keep the doctor away

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Dr Luke Stanaway's doctoral research shows nitrate-rich beetroot juice can help reduce blood pressure.

Last updated: Tuesday 4 June 2024

For his doctoral research, Dr Luke Stanaway investigated the effects of dietary nitrate (in the form of beetroot juice) on cardiovascular health and cognitive function in older adults compared to younger ones.

“Effectively we looked at how beetroot juice would affect blood pressure, vascular resistance of the heart and cognitive performance. The findings from my thesis were overwhelmingly positive and demonstrated the potential for a nitrate-rich beetroot juice supplement to help reduce blood pressure.”

Dr Stanaway says the data showed there were greater benefits in older adults.

“In older adults, high blood pressure is more commonly an issue leading to negative health associations. The results show that this supplement helps to improve cardiovascular health. Applying this to day-to-day life, a beetroot drink a day could keep the doctor away.”

Initially, Dr Stanaway was interested in sport performance and wanted to research something in that area, but after a change in personal circumstances, he became more interested in health and longevity.

“During my undergraduate degree, I was discussing a topic for a research paper with my soon-to-be supervisor. He pointed to a small purple bottle on his filing cabinet behind me and asked “what about beetroot juice?”

“Not knowing anything about dietary nitrates at the time, I thought to myself beetroot juice sounds a bit weird and, to be fair, it still confuses my family. Long story short, I walked out of the meeting with eight research articles on the effects of dietary nitrate supplementation, mainly in the form of beetroot juice, and so my research in the area began.”

Outside of his research, Dr Stanaway owns a few businesses that helps keep a mixture of practical and research avenues in his life.

“I am a Co-founder of Nourish App, a nutrition and recipe app that allows me to work with thousands of clients all over the country to guide them through their own nutrition and healthy eating journey.”

Dr Stanaway hasn’t finished with research just yet as he’s still involved with a large research project looking at the effects of dietary nitrate supplementation on the blood pressure of populations in a number of countries in Asia.

“Safe to say, I keep busy!”

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