Beet Juice Helps Keep Your Brain Young
7 minute read
More than just a deep red color famous for staining your clothes, beets are a real benefit to your health. Beets have been a favorite of athletes for years now because of their proven ability to make endurance exercise more efficient.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an endurance athlete to benefit from beets, as they are great for everyone’s health. On top of that, new research has found that they are good for your brain too.
What We Know About Beets
Beets have been around since prehistoric times, with the greens being commonly eaten. As time went on, beets began to be used primarily as a source of sugar, and soon enough people discovered, as with other vegetables, that there was more than great taste among its benefits.
Beets contain unique health-boosting nutrients that you may have trouble getting elsewhere. The high carbohydrate levels mean they should be eaten sparingly, but there are definitely good reasons to include them in your diet.
New Link Between Beets and Your Brain
It is already well-established that exercise keeps you fit, healthy and fights off the aging process. A shot of beet juice before any workout can help to enhance these effects, specifically because it produces changes in the function and organization of your brain.
The new study looked at the combined effects of exercise and beet juice.
Sedentary men over the age of 65 were given exercise assignments for six weeks and either a placebo or a daily shot of beet juice. Researchers were interested in how the brain networks stayed connected because it is thought that aging causes connections to falter.
The results found that brain connections were significantly more improved in the group taking beet juice each day.
The key component of beet juice is nitrate. Once in your body, this is converted to nitrite and then nitric oxide, which has powerful effects on the responsiveness of your blood vessels.
Research shows that beet juice helps to increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain. Efficient oxygen distribution not only benefits exercise but also enhances some aspects of cognitive function, such as reaction time.
Now let’s look at the many other benefits beets have on your health.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The nitric acid created by the nitrates in beets, which helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels. This not only improves blood flow throughout your body, but it also lowers your blood pressure by an average of 4 to 5 points.
The benefit of stamina is again related to the nitrate content of beets. Exercise, especially when intense, can reduce oxygen availability, but drinking beet juice beforehand can help your body to reduce the total oxygen cost as well as increase your tolerance for high-intensity workouts.
As a unique source of betaine, beets can help to protect your cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. Betaine has been linked with lower levels of inflammatory markers which can protect your organs from inflammation which is a major contributor to several serious diseases.
Given the link between inflammation and neurodegeneration, beets can help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease, which has strong connections to chronic inflammation.
| Related: How Krill Oil Can Protect Your Brain |
Possesses Anti-Cancer Properties
The color of beets comes from powerful phytonutrients that help to ward off cancer. Beetroot extract has been shown to reduce tumor formations in animal testing.
Research continues to study the effects of beetroot extract in treating pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers in humans.
The betalain pigments in beets help to support your body’s detoxification process. After toxins are broken down in the first phase of detoxification, they are excreted from the body by binding to other molecules.
The betalain pigments help with this second phase and help to purify both your blood and liver.
Bolsters the Immune System
Beets are high in vitamin C, an essential part of a healthy immune system function. Also found in beets are essential minerals, such as potassium, which benefits your nerve and muscle function.
| Related: Probiotics Give Your Immune System a Boost |
Additionally, beets stimulate the production of antibodies and white blood cells, powering up your immune system when needed.
Boosts Overall Health
The fiber in beets helps to support healthy digestion by promoting regular bowel movements.
Finally, beets are high in manganese which is good for your bones, pancreas, liver, and kidneys. Boosting your bone strength is a great way to ward off osteoporosis which is often associated with aging.
Our ancestors knew the value of the beets greens, which is something we often overlook today. The greens are just as healthy for you as the vegetable itself, so you don’t want to be throwing them out.
Beet greens are full of protein, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium as well as vitamins A and C. When you eat the beet and the greens, you end up with a mouthful of essential nutrients, more than are found in any other single vegetable.
The Bottom Line
If you have never tried beets before, there is no need to let them intimidate you.
They can be eaten raw as a snack or grated up and tossed into a salad. You can add them to your fruit and vegetable smoothies or lightly steam them and serve with the main course.
If you want to serve them as a savory side dish, simply marinate them in lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs then grill and serve.
Beets and beet juice possess benefits for your health and now research shows that a shot a day can enhance brain function. With aging being a concern for most individuals, especially the associated decline in cognition, these recent studies could be just what you have been looking for.