Beetroot juice has long been flouted as the powerhouse of health drinks, and now a study has found yet another reason to drink the brightly coloured juice: It has anti-ageing benefits.
Researchers at Wake Forest University were already aware that exercise can have a positive anti-ageing impact, and were looking for ways to increase those benefits. They found that combining beetroot juice with exercise strengthens certain regions of the brain, making it apple more youthful and potentially helping prevent the organ’s decline.
Researchers believe that Beet juice’s power likely lies in its nitric oxide content, which increases blood flow to the brain and improves exercise performance.
Speaking of the findings study author Professor Jack Rejeski told Daily Mail: “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.”
“Compared to exercise alone, adding a beetroot juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults.”
The small study included 26 men and women aged 55 and older who did not exercise, had high blood pressure, and took no more than two medications for their high blood pressure. Three times a week, they drank a beetroot juice supplement one hour before a 50-minute walk on the treadmill.
Half of the participants received the beet supplement containing 560 mg of nitrate, while the other half received a placebo beet supplement with very little nitrate.
The results revealed that the group served beet juice had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite than the placebo group after exercise.
“Nitric oxide is a really powerful molecule,” Professor Rejeski explained. “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.”
Combining beet juice with exercise was found to deliver more oxygen to the brain, thus creating an environment for strengthening the area of the brain associated with motor activity.
So though beetroot juice might not be top of your must-drink list, it might just be time to hold your nose and drink up.