- Drinking beetroot juice before
exercise can improve brain function in older adults with high blood
pressure, finds a new study.
- Beetroot juice contains nitrates
that convert to nitric oxide, which improves exercise performance.
- Combining beetroot juice with
exercise supplies more oxygen to the brain and strengthens the somatomotor
A healthy diet
and regular exercise can have a positive effect on the brain function. A new
study conducted among the elderly found that drinking beetroot
before exercising can make the brain perform more efficiently.
A research team
at the Wake Forest University conducted an experimental study on older adults
with high blood pressure. The research team compared the effect of beetroot
juice and exercise in improving the brain function.
Effect of Beetroot
Juice and Exercise in Older Adults
The study group
involved 26 men and women aged over 55 years who did not follow a daily
exercise regimen. All the participants had high blood pressure and took two
‘Beetroot juice contains nitrates that supply more oxygen to the brain and make the brain perform more efficiently.’
experimental study, the participants were given beetroot juice supplement three
times a week for six weeks. They drank a beetroot juice supplement called
Beet-It Sport Shot one hour before exercise. The duration of the exercise was
50 minutes walk on a treadmill. One group received Beet-It containing 560mg of
nitrates, and the other group received a placebo Beet-It with low levels of
showed that drinking beetroot juice before exercise resulted in brain
connectivity that closely resembles the brain of a younger adult.
How Beetroot Improves
contains high levels of nitrate, which is converted to nitrite and nitric oxide
when consumed. Nitric oxide increases blood flow in the body. Studies have
shown that nitric oxide can improve exercise performance in people of various
oxide is a 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," said W. Jack Rejeski, a study co-author.
somatomotor cortex, which processes information from the muscles, sorts out the
cues coming in from the body during exercise. Thus, exercise strengthens the
The findings of
the study suggest that combining beetroot juice with exercise delivers more
oxygen to the brain and strengthens the somatomotor cortex.
The levels of
nitrate and nitrite in the blood before drinking beetroot juice was similar in
both the groups. However, the post-exercise analysis showed that the beetroot
juice group had higher levels of nitrate and nitrite than the placebo after
going in, that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects
on the brain," said Rejeski. "This is the first study to test the combined
effects of exercise and beetroot juice on functional brain networks and
secondary connections between the motor cortex and the insula, which support
mobility," said Rejeski, Professor, and Director of the Behavioral Medicine
Laboratory at the Department of Health & Exercise Science.
The study titled
"Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain"
is published in the peer-reviewed Journals of Gerontology: Medical
The research team suggested that what we eat as we age is
important for maintaining brain health and functional independence.
- Meredith Petrie, W.
Jack Rejeski, Swati Basu, Paul J. Laurienti, Anthony P. Marsh, James L. Norris,
Daniel B. Kim-Shapiro, Jonathan H. Burdette. Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid
for Exercise and the Aging Brain.The Journals of Gerontology (2017). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glw219