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Drinking beet juice increases blood flow to the brain

November 25, 2015

The next day, following another 10-hour fast, the subjects returned to the lab, where they ate their assigned breakfasts. One hour after breakfast, an MRI recorded the blood flow in each subject's brain. Blood tests before and after breakfast confirmed nitrite levels in the body.

For the third and fourth days of the study, the researchers switched the diets and repeated the process for each subject.

The MRIs showed that after eating a high-nitrate diet, the older adults had increased blood flow to the white matter of the frontal lobes - the areas of the brain commonly associated with degeneration that leads to dementia and other cognitive conditions.

"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," said Gary Miller, associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science and one of the senior investigators on the project.

To make the sometimes-bitter beet juice tastier - so a greater number of people will drink it and reap its health benefits - the university has worked with a company to create a new beet juice-based beverage. The university is currently looking into ways of marketing the beverage.

Source: Wake Forest University