WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. A daily dose of beet juice may increase blood flow to the brain and keep the mind sharp, possibly helping to stave off dementia later in life, according to a new study.
Researchers at Wake Forest University found that beet juice is rich in nitrate, which the body converts into nitrite, a substance that helps open up blood vessels and improve blood flow. Nitrates also occur at high levels in celery, cabbage, spinach and some kinds of lettuce.
“One of the great things about nitrite is that it seems to head straight for the places that need more oxygen supplied by increased blood flow,” Wake Forest University Department of Health and Exercise Science professor and study investigator Gary Miller said in a statement. “I think these results are consistent and encouraging — that good diet consisting of a lot of fruits and vegetables can contribute to overall good health.”
Results of the study were published online in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, the peer-reviewed journal of the Nitric Oxide Society.