Nitrate-Rich Vegetables Increase Plasma Nitrate and Nitrite Concentrations and Lower Blood Pressure in Healthy Adults

Kristin L. Jonvik, Jean Nyakayiru, Philippe J. M. Pinckaers, Joannes Senden, Lucas van Loon, Lex B. Verdijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

86 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Dietary nitrate is receiving increased attention due to its reported ergogenic and cardioprotective properties. The extent to which ingestion of various nitrate-rich vegetables increases postprandial plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations and lowers blood pressure is currently unknown. Objective: We aimed to assess the impact of ingesting different nitrate-rich vegetables on subsequent plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations and resting blood pressure in healthy normotensive individuals. Methods: With the use of a semirandomized crossover design, 11 men and 7 women [mean +/- SEM age: 28 +/- 1 y; mean +/- SEM body mass index (BMI, in kg/m(2)): 23 +/- 1; exercise: 1-10 h/wk] ingested 4 different beverages, each containing 800 mg (similar to 12.9 mmol) nitrate: sodium nitrate (NaNO3), concentrated beetroot juice, a rocket salad beverage, and a spinach beverage. Plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations and blood pressure were determined before and up to 300 min after beverage ingestion. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA. Results: Plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations increased after ingestion of all 4 beverages (P <0.001). Peak plasma nitrate concentrations were similar for all treatments (all values presented as means +/- SEMs: NaNO3: 583 +/- 29 mu mol/L; beetroot juice: 597 +/- 23 mu mol/L; rocket salad beverage: 584 +/- 24 mu mol/L; spinach beverage: 584 +/- 23 mu mol/L). Peak plasma nitrite concentrations were different between treatments (NaNO3: 580 +/- 58 nmol/L; beetroot juice: 557 +/- 57 nmol/L; rocket salad beverage: 643 +/- 63 nmol/L; spinach beverage: 980 +/- 160 nmol/L; P = 0.016). When compared with baseline, systolic blood pressure declined 150 min after ingestion of beetroot juice (from 118 +/- 2 to 113 +/- 2 mm Hg; P <0.001) and rocket salad beverage (from 122 +/- 3 to 116 +/- 2 mm Hg; P = 0.007) and 300 min after ingestion of spinach beverage (from 118 +/- 2 to 111 +/- 3 mm Hg; P <0.001), but did not change with NaNO3. Diastolic blood pressure declined 150 min after ingestion of all beverages (P <0.05) and remained lower at 300 min after ingestion of rocket salad (P = 0.045) and spinach (P = 0.001) beverages. Conclusions: Ingestion of nitrate-rich beetroot juice, rocket salad beverage, and spinach beverage effectively increases plasma nitrate and nitrite concentrations and lowers blood pressure to a greater extent than sodium nitrate. These findings show that nitrate-rich vegetables can be used as dietary nitrate supplements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-993
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • nitrate
  • nitrite
  • blood pressure
  • bioavailability
  • beetroot
  • rocket salad
  • spinach

Cite this