A beetroot juice supplement can make older brains perform like younger ones, new research shows.
The supplement was given to older adults just before they worked out.
Professor Jack Rejeski, a study co-author, said:
“We knew, going in, that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects on the brain.
But what we showed in this brief training study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beet root juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults.”
People in the study were over 55, did not exercise and had high blood pressure.
They were given the beetroot supplement an hour before a moderate intensity 50-minute treadmill workout.
The critical ingredient in beetroot is nitrate, which is converted to nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide helps increase blood flow.
Professor Rejeski said:
“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.”
The exercise plus the beets help to deliver more oxygen to the brain, helping to give a boost beyond your years.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (Petrie et al., 2017).