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

Eco-Packaging Progress Report

Creative new options include carry-out containers made of wood pulp, baked-goods wrapping paper infused with antibacterial spices, and cardboard made of mushroom roots.

Ease Repetitive Strain Injuries

Any movement we do repeatedly, such as typing at a screen or keyboard, can cause muscle strain and injury, but the right kind of exercises can lower our risk and repair damage.

Kristi Nelson on Why Gratefulness Brings Happiness

It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy, counsels the head of the Network for Grateful Living.

Raw Fruit and Veggies Key to Mental Health

Eating raw fruit and vegetables correlated more with psychological well-being in young adults than eating canned, cooked or processed produce.

Eating Well Protects Hearing

In a 22-year study of 33,000 women, Harvard researchers found that a healthy diet can lower the risk of moderate to severe hearing loss by nearly a third.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags