Spinach may have been the magic formula for Popeye, but beet juice may be the elixir for aging brains.
One of the major risk factors for the development of dementia and poor cognition is poor blood flow or perfusion to the brain. When blood flow decreases or stops, brain tissue can atrophy and die, and with it the functions and memories it holds.
Blood flows to the brain through four arteries: two internal carotid arteries and two vertebral arteries. Each of these arteries enters the skull at the base of the brain. From there they branch off into smaller arteries that irrigate the rest of the brain. When blood flow is hampered, by narrowing arteries, inflammation or plaque build up, the brain does not receive as rich a supply of fuel and nutrients. This can lead to impaired cognition.
Researchers at the Wake Forest University recently discovered that beet juice increases blood flow to the brain, especially to areas that are commonly associated with degeneration.
Study subjects drank 16 ounces of beet juice in the morning for breakfast. One hour later, blood flow was recorded with an MRI. The scan revealed increased blood flow to the frontal lobes. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this happened over four days.
How does it work? Beets and other vegetables like celery, cabbage, spinach and lettuce have high concentrations of nitrates. Nitrates are converted to nitrite by good bacteria in your mouth and nitrites have been shown to increase blood flow and oxygen, specifically to areas deficient in oxygen.
This is good motivation for doing a regular juice detox or having a fresh juice day once a week. Must also be why our patients feel so good after finishing our two-week program!
Mind Medicine Prescription: