Nutrition: Beets for the brain

Next time you’re roasting a pan of root vegetables, or creating a tasty juice blend, remember to toss  lots of

nutritionbeetsforthebrain

Next time you’re roasting a pan of root vegetables, or creating a tasty juice blend, remember to toss  lots of beets into the mix (beet, apple and ginger juice, anyone?). Research released last week from Wake Forest University in North Carolina found that drinking beet juice daily increased the blood flow to the brain in the older adults who were the study participants.

In earlier research, drinking beet juice has been shown to lower blood pressure. Beets contain lots of nitrates, also found in many leafy green vegetables. Natural good bacteria that live in the mouth, convert this nitrate into nitrite, which can help open our blood vessels, increasing the oxygen that goes through our body. This current study was done on older adults, and found that drinking two cups of beet juice for breakfast increased blood flow to specific areas at the front of the brain. The findings are available online in the scientific journal Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry.

While I’m not quite ready to add beet juice to my morning routine, beets are a vegetable that I love but tend to overlook, especially on busy weeknights. My solution: Roast up a panful of beets on the weekend and use them up in Orange Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad or Roasted Beet Beef Salad with Mustard Dressing during the week. Bonus: Earlier research has shown that the improved use of oxygen thanks to beet nitrates helped study participants cycle up to 16 percent longer.

What’s your favourite way to serve up beets?

 

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