By now you know, exercise is the best brain medicine. Studies have shown that regular exercise can increase your brain volume, improve your cognitive health and even reverse brain aging.
That means, if you want to stack the cognitive health cards in your favor and prevent Alzheimer’s, you have to exercise daily… no ifs, ands or buts about it…
But, if you really want to boost your odds of maintaining a healthy brain well into old age, there’s one thing I’d recommend doing right before you exercise to ramp up the brain benefits…
Drink a glass of beetroot juice.
I know it may not sound as appetizing as a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning (or in the evening, for that matter), but the latest research suggests that beetroot juice and exercise are the perfect pair if you want better brain health…
Exercise, beetroot juice and your brain
Researchers from Wake Forest University found that combining beetroot juice and exercise improves your brain connectivity and makes your brain behave years younger. Most importantly, beetroot juice and exercise together are more effective at boosting brain health than just exercise alone…
In their study, researchers studied the effects of exercise and beetroot juice on 26 men and women who didn’t exercise, had high blood pressure, took no more than two medications for high blood pressure and were age 55 or older.
All study participants took a 50 minute walk on a treadmill three times per week for six weeks. But half of participants received a beetroot supplement drink, and the other half received a placebo. At the end of the six weeks, the participants who took the beetroot supplement had better brain connectivity than those who didn’t.
Basically, that means the different parts of their brain were communicating better with one another. Their brains were also operating more efficiently, and their brain activity more closely resembled that of someone years younger.
Now, previous studies have shown that beetroot juice increases blood flow to your brain and enhances your exercise performance. So, whether it helps your long-term brain health or not, it’s going to make you feel more alert and energized during and after your workout.
But, based on the fact that it improves brain connectivity better than just exercise alone, there’s definitely potential for long-term brain benefits…
According to researchers, that’s because beetroot juice contains a lot of dietary nitrates, which your body converts to nitrites and eventually nitric oxide (NO). These shouldn’t be confused with sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate — preservatives found in foods like hot dogs and luncheon meats.
Nitric oxide improves blood flow throughout your body (which is why beets can improve exercise performance) and your brain (which is why it may help with brain connectivity).
To support their hunch that nitrate is the component of beetroot juice behind its brain benefits, researchers checked blood levels of nitrate and nitrite before and after exercise. And, sure enough, all participants had similar levels before drinking the juice and exercising. But after drinking the juice and exercising, those who drank the real beetroot juice supplement had much higher levels of these building blocks for producing nitric oxide in their blood.
Making your own beetroot juice…
If you’re already exercising for better brain health, adding beetroot juice to your morning (or evening) exercise routine is a simple way to make your efforts more effective. And if you need more incentive to give beetroot juice a try, you should know that it also helps with inflammation, digestion, diabetes, heart health and blood pressure too.
If you have your own juicer, you can buy whole beetroot and juice it yourself. If not, there are plenty of beetroot juice supplements and powdered beet drink mixes available, now that so many health benefits have been attributed to beets in the last couple of years.
Look for an organic blend, because nothing thwarts good nutrition like a glassful of pesticides and chemicals.
You can also try eating or juicing these other nitric oxide-producing foods for not only a better brain but better muscles too.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
“With beetroot juice before exercise, aging brains look ‘younger’: study.” — MedicalXpress. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
Petrie, et al. “Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain.” — The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2016.
“Beetroot: Health benefits and nutritional information.” — Medical News Today. Retrieved April 20, 2017.