Although hypertension is prevalent world-wide, it is an even greater problem in low- and middle-income countries, where nearly two-thirds of the hypertensive individuals reside. In Africa, 46% of adults have hypertension and it is the sixth leading cause of disability within the Sub-Saharan region. Because of the health care challenges associated with diagnosis and care in these regions, the use of a diet-based intervention may be received better than costly medications. Inorganic nitrate, a precursor to nitric oxide, and folic acid are found in relatively high levels in certain leafy green vegetables and in beetroots.
Existing literature suggests the potential utility of beetroot extracts and folic acid in the control of hypertension and endothelial function. Because they partly operate through different mechanisms, it may be possible to affect an even greater control of hypertension by combining the interventions. Siervo and colleagues conducted a study to explore this hypothesis and report the results of their study in the September 2020 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.