(Natural News) Drinking a glass of beetroot juice before exercise can give you a younger brain, surmises a team of researchers in a new study. The team says that older adults who drink this purple tonic before engaging in moderate exercise exhibit greater brain connectivity in the areas associated with motor function. The connectivity, authors note, is comparable to the connectivity found in younger adults. These findings are reported in Journals of Gerontology: Series A.
To reach this conclusion, the team observed 26 participants, aged 55 and older, who had high blood pressure. None of these participants regularly exercised and were taking up to two medications to lower their blood pressure levels. Researchers asked their participants to engage in 50 minutes of moderately-intense exercise on a treadmill three times a week for six weeks. Half of the participants were given a beetroot juice supplement containing 560 mg of nitrate an hour before each session. The other half were given a placebo low in nitrates. After six weeks, the brain functioning of all participants was measured using a MRI.
Adults who took the beetroot juice supplement prior to exercising exhibited a significantly stronger somatomotor cortex, the region that helps control body movement. Researchers also found that the beetroot supplement group showed greater connectivity between the somatomotor cortex and the insular cortex, the area that controls cognitive functioning, emotional responses, and other brain functions. This connectivity is typical among the brains of younger adults. Authors hypothesize that the somatomotor cortex receives and processes signals from the muscles. Exercise strengthens this process. Beetroot juice, which is high in nitrates, further improves this. The nitrates convert to nitric oxide which helps deliver more oxygen to the brain. Co-author of the study, W. Jack Rejeski said on MedicalNewsToday.com, “Nitric oxide is a really powerful molecule. It goes to the areas of the body which are hypoxic, or needing oxygen, and the brain is a heavy feeder of oxygen in your body.”
Rejeski stressed that further research is necessary — particularly in terms of gathering a larger sample size — to truly assess the benefits of beetroot juice and brain health.
Dancin’ to the “beet” of the heart…and other organs
Beetroot — or, more simply known as beet — is a superfood. The plant is a source of a specific type of phytonutrient called betalians. These have extremely powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties. Health and wellness experts recommend consuming beets raw as fresh juice for maximum benefits. An article on NaturalLivingIdeas.com lists some benefits of consuming fresh beetroot juice daily.
- Lowers blood pressure: Studies prove that consuming beetroot juice lowers blood pressure almost instantly. An average-sized beet contains 20 times more dietary nitrates than other vegetables. These nitrates are known to reduce blood pressure. In fact, one study even suggested that drinking just one glass of beet juice lowered systolic pressure by four to five points.
- Improves sexual performance: The ancient Romans used to drink beet juice to boost their libido. New studies have found that beets are a good source of the mineral boron, which is directly linked to the production of sex hormones.
- Fights inflammation: Betaine in beets protect the cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. Beetroot reduces inflammation in the organs and reduces vascular risk factors.
The color purple has been hailed as a royal color since time immemorial. Well, Mother Nature made no mistake when she clothed this powerful superfood with this beautiful majestic color that speaks of its numerous health benefits!