Dietetics PhD student profile – Ann Ashworth

Ann Ashworth graduated with a BSc (Hons) Nutrition degree from the University of London and after a completing a post-graduate diploma, qualified as a Dietitian in December 1984. She worked for over 20 years as a clinical dietitian in the NHS in various specialist areas, including nutritional support, home enteral feeding, oncology, intensive care and was Chief Dietitian at the Radcliffe Infirmary NHS Trust, Oxford. During her NHS career, she developed an interest in sports nutrition alongside her clinical role. Since then, Ann has been involved in various aspects of sports nutrition, advising individual clients and teams and was a regular contributor for Yachts and Yachting magazine. She is a Registered Sports and Exercise Nutritionist as well as a Registered Dietitian.

Having been inspired by a newspaper article about the potential effects on nitrate in beetroot juice on athletic performance, Ann started a part-time PhD in 2010 and is currently studying the effects of dietary nitrate on blood pressure. So far, two studies have been completed and the third and final study is in progress. This area of research is important, as nitrate is still seen as a contaminant in both food and water. However, Ann's work is contributing to an increasing body of evidence that suggests that dietary nitrate obtained from vegetables can be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

The PhD is due for completion in September, 2017. It has been supported by grants from Health Education South West, the Northcott Devon Medical Foundation and by Plymouth University.