Beetroot Juice Makes Aging Brains Look Younger

Beetroot Juice Makes Aging Brains Look Younger

But what if you could supercharge this effect and kickstart an older brain into functioning with the efficiency of a brain much younger?

"Nitric oxide is a really powerful molecule", said study co-author W. Jack Rejeski.

Beetroot contains a high level of nitrate which is converted to nitrite and then nitric oxide (NO) when consumed, increasing blood flow in the body.

Furthermore, subjects who drank the beetroot juice supplement also showed greater connectivity between the somatomotor cortex and the insular cortex, a brain region associated with motor control, cognitive functioning, emotion, and other brain functions.

For the finding, researchers from Wake Forest University in the United States studied about 26 men and women aged 55 and older who did not exercise, had high blood pressure and took no more than two medications for high blood pressure.

So, combining beetroot juice with exercise delivers even more oxygen to the brain and creates an excellent environment for strengthening the somatomotor cortex.

This isn't the first study to find that beets have a positive effect on health and exercise.

Physical exertion strengthens the brain's somatomotor cortex, which processes information from the muscles, sorting out the cues coming in from the body. For six weeks, three times a week, the group took part in a moderately intense 50-minute walk on a treadmill, drinking a beetroot juice supplement before hand.

"But what we showed in this study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beetroot juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults". Half of the participants received a dose of the juice containing 560 mg nitrate and the others received a placebo with minimal nitrate, a chemical found naturally in beets. NO increases blood flow in the body, and multiple studies have shown it can improve exercise performance in people of various ages.

The one catch? The sample group was only 26 people.

The researchers described the findings published in Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences as "exciting" and said more work is needed to replicate and extend them.

Still, it would only add to beetroot's laundry list of benefits, which include improving exercise endurance and blood pressure among older adults, upping general running performance and lowering blood pressure.

In short, Wake Forest need to do more research, and you need to eat more beets.

The vegetable is rich in nitrate which improves blood flow, making middle aged adults as mentally sharp as much younger people, say scientists.

The ancient Romans considered beetroot an aphrodisiac.