Beetroot Juice Associated With Improved Cognitive Function in Mature Adults
As they get older, many people notice that their brain doesn’t work as quickly as it used to. A recent study suggests that drinking beetroot juice and exercising may improve cognitive function in mature adults.
Participants in the study included 26 people age 55 and older who did not normally exercise and who were on medication for high blood pressure. For six weeks, half of the participants were given a beetroot juice supplement containing 560 mg of nitrate, while the other half was given a placebo. The supplement or placebo was taken one hour before completing a 50 minute walk on a treadmill.
The researchers noted significantly improved motor functions in the beetroot juice group, as well as lower second-order connections between the somatomotor cortex and insular cortex. The beetroot juice group also had higher peak MET capacity, which is a measure of the amount of oxygen used during a specific physical activity.
Researchers from Wake Forest University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 6, 2016, in the Journal of Gerontology: Medial Sciences.
Beetroot juice is packed with nutrients such as nitrate, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, amino acids and calcium. Previous studies have linked nitrate with improved regulation of blood flow, better blood pressure, cellular signaling, glucose homeostasis, and improved tissue responses to low oxygen levels as well as improved cardiovascular health.
Beetroot juice has been associated in previous studies with lowering blood pressure, improving digestive health, boosting stamina and combating liver problems. While beetroots are perhaps the most popular nitrate rich food, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, garlic, pumpkin, radishes, and string beans are also good sources of nitrate.