Researchers may have found a correlation between beet juice and circulation in the brain for older individuals. This finding may be monumental to assist in prevention of dementia.
Findings for this study can be found in an online version of Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry.
Several studies have proven been juice to be effective for lowering blood pressure, but this group of researchers worked to prove beet juice as an effective supplement to increase blood circulation to the brain. Certain areas of the brain lack blood-flow as people age, and this may be one factor causing dementia and mental deterioration.
Eating foods high in nitrates, like beets, celery, and green, leafy vegetables causes the body to turn nitrate into nitrite. Nitrite has been proven to increase circulation and oxygen uptake by expanding blood vessels throughout the body.
For this study, researchers analyzed 14 adults over 70 years old for four days.
Day one included participants being asked to fast before testing was performed, and then they were given a breakfast containing either low-nitrate or high-nitrate. Beet juice was included in the breakfast with higher nitrate concentration. Participants were asked to consume different food throughout the first day, based upon their assigned diet.
Day two began with fasting as well, followed by breakfast. After breakfast, participants received an MRI to determine circulation in the brain. Blood tests were also performed to determine nitrite levels.
Days three and four contained a flip-flop of participant diets, followed by the same steps performed on day two.
Testing showed higher nitrate diets increased blood circulation in the brain, specifically in areas where dementia is known to originate.
Researchers are encouraged by these findings and encourage individuals to maintain healthy diets containing fruits and vegetables.