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Study finds beet juice could improve blood flow to brain, safeguard against dementia

BY Alaric DeArment

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.

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Dr Pepper scores with football fans

BY Allison Cerra

PLANO, Texas In line with its football-themed campaign, Dr Pepper has partnered with Electronic Arts to develop "Dr Pepper Football," an interactive computer-based video game.

Available for PC download through the Dr Pepper website with the use of a special promotion code, the game pits Dr Pepper against Diet Dr Pepper on a customized field. Players can choose specially designed uniforms for battle on the grid iron and use additional Dr Pepper codes to unlock hidden game content, including custom playbooks, and such halftime mini-games as passing, running or punting challenges. Dr Pepper Football also includes social networking feeds, the company said.

"Dr Pepper is a longtime supporter of college football, and now we’re giving our fans a chance to get in the game," said Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. "There has always been a battle between consumers over which tastes better, Dr Pepper or Diet Dr Pepper, and now fans can settle that dispute on the field."

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Grapes, grape-based products may boost heart health

BY Allison Cerra

CONCORD, Mass. Two scientific papers published in Nutrition Reviews and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition addressed a link between heart health and a diet that includes grapes or grape-based products.

Both studies found that grapes and grape products, including Concord grape juice, may promote cardiovascular health. Specifically, the study published in Nutrition Reviews found that grapes, which contain natural plant nutrients called polyphenols, can help maintain healthy, flexible arteries and manage LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

"Grape products can be a wise choice for a healthy lifestyle," said review co-author Maria Luz Fernandez with the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. "Grapes and grape juice are easy ways to take a proactive step in maintaining health."

Meanwhile, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, M.M. Dohadwala and colleagues examined the role of Concord grape juice in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Study participants included 64 adult men and women with an early stage of high blood pressure classified as either pre-hypertension or stage-1 hypertension. This study showed that drinking Concord grape juice helped lower nocturnal or night-time blood pressure (an indicator of healthy blood pressure regulation), and had a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels compared with a calorie-matched, grape-flavored drink. The study authors noted, however, that more science is needed to confirm these findings, and that the researchers found no significant effect on blood pressure measured over a 24-hour period.

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