Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Can Drinking Beet Juice Help Protect Against Dementia?

Beet juice to beat dementia? Maybe.

We know from prior research that beet juice can lower blood sugar.

Now a study published online—November 2010 at Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry—reveals that beet juice can do even more: open up blood vessels and increase blood flow/oxygen to a critical region of the brain.

Researchers at the Translational Science Center (Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North

Carolina) administered a “high vs. a low nitrate diet” to older adults (mean age 74.7). Those with a high-nitrate diet consumed 16 ounces of beet juice with breakfast and followed specific diets for lunch, dinner and snacks.

Subjects underwent 10-hour fasts and strategic MRIs that recorded blood flow in the brain.

Hopeful findings: Consuming a high-nitrate diet increased blood flow to white matter of the brain’s frontal lobes (region linked to degenerative cognitive conditions).

“These are the areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, “says Daniel Kim-Shapiro, Director of the Center, “and that’s believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition.”


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