Raise a Glass of Beetroot Juice and You May Improve Your Brain Health
Scientists at Wake Forest University found that beetroot juice can improve the flow of blood to the brain. Beetroot is a very high nitrate food. When nitrate enters the body it turns into nitrite, which has been shown to open blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Poorer blood flow to the brain among more mature adults has been linked to the onset of cognitive decline and dementia.
The findings of the study were published in the October 2010 issue of Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry.
14 people over the age of 70 were recruited for the study. 7 of the participants were fed a high nitrate breakfast that included 16 ounces of beetroot. The other 7 participants were fed a low nitrate breakfast.
After the two days, MRI scans of the brain were taken. Then the participants swapped breakfasts for two days, after which another MRI scan was taken.
The MRI scans showed that blood flow to the white matter of the frontal lobes was higher in the participants who had eaten the high nitrate breakfast. The frontal lobes are an area of the brain that is commonly associated with dementia.
Beetroot juice is packed with nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, amino acids and calcium. It has been associated in previous studies with lowering blood pressure, improving digestive health, boosting stamina and combating liver problems.