Eating Beets Is A
Safeguard Against Dementia Developing As Senior Citizens Age
healthy foods for senior citizens say beet juice increases blood flow to
8, 2010 - Seniors should add beets to the list of superfoods vital to
their diet, say researchers specializing in the study of foods that are
beneficial to people as they age. Their new study shows that a daily
dose of beet juice boosts blood flow to the brain, keeping your mind
sharp and potentially creating a safeguard against dementia as you age.
Wake Forest University's Translational Science Center; Fostering
Independence in Aging took a closer look at beet juice because it is
rich in nitrate. The body turns nitrate into nitrite, which helps to
open up blood vessels and improve blood flow.
"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," said
Gary Miller, associate professor in Wake Forest University's Department
of Health and Exercise Science and one of the senior investigators on
"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."
builds on previous research showing that a diet that includes beets and
other nitrate-rich foods can lower blood pressure and improve exercise
performance. But this is the first to look at how beets might affect the
brain, according to the researchers..
"There are areas
in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that's believed
to be associated with dementia and poor cognition," said Daniel
Kim-Shapiro, director of Wake Forest University's Translational Science
Center; Fostering Independence in Aging.
concentrations of nitrates are found in beets, as well as in celery,
cabbage and other leafy green vegetables like spinach and some lettuce.
findings are available online in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry,
the peer-reviewed journal of the Nitric Oxide Society and will be
available in print soon. The National Institutes of Health contributed
funding for this research.
The Center for
Translational Science; Fostering Independence in Aging focuses on the
promotion and maintenance of functional health as people age.
researchers study how diet and exercise can change cognitive and
physical function. The center's team involves medical staff, behavioral
scientists and other scientists who develop research-based interventions
to help both physical and cognitive health in aging populations.
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