East Bay Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Beetroot Juice Helps Older Brains Act Younger

Positive Effects on the Mind

iMarzi/Shutterstock.com

Beets contain high levels of dietary nitrate, which can increase blood flow and improve exercise performance. Researchers from Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, tested the impact of consuming beetroot juice prior to exercise on the somatomotor cortex, the part of the brain that processes information from the muscles.

Twenty-six older adults with hypertension that generally don’t exercise were split into two groups. Half were given a beetroot juice supplement with 560 milligrams of nitrate prior to a thrice-weekly, 50-minute treadmill walk for six weeks. The other half were given a placebo with very little nitrate. The beetroot juice group showed substantially higher levels of nitrate after exercising than the placebo group.

“We knew going in that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects on the brain,” explains W. Jack Rejeski, director of the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory in the Health and Exercise Science Department at Wake Forest and study co-author. “We showed that compared to exercise alone, adding a beetroot juice supplement for hypertensive older adults to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what is seen in younger adults.”


This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Fight Back Naturally When Allergies Put the Bite on Pets

Because they’re built lower to the ground, our dogs and cats can pick up seasonal allergens on fur from grass, weeds, pollen, lawn chemicals and fleas.

Saving a Drop to Drink

Fresh water supplies are dwindling globally, including in the U.S., yet we can do things on a personal level to help hold onto this finite resource.

Air Care for Kids

Kids are especially sensitive to the pollen, chemicals, dust mites, mold and pet dander that cause allergies, but simple strategies can keep these culprits in check.

Meditation and Music Slow Cellular Aging

Doing a chanting meditation or listening to classical music 12 minutes a day for three months altered biomarkers associated with cellular aging and Alzheimer’s disease in adults with early memory loss.

Vegetables and Orange Juice Protect Memory

A Harvard study of 27,842 older male health professionals found those that ate the most vegetables and drank the most orange juice suffered less memory loss over a span of two decades.

Add your comment: