6. May Help Support Brain Health
Mental and cognitive function naturally decline with age. For some, this decline is significant and may result in conditions like dementia. A reduction in blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain may contribute to this decline. Interestingly, the nitrates in beets may improve mental and cognitive function by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and thus increasing blood flow to the brain.
Beets have been shown to particularly improve blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, an area associated with higher-level thinking, such as decision making and working memory. Furthermore, one study in type 2 diabetics looked at the effect of beets on simple reaction time, which is a measure of cognitive function.
Simple reaction time during a computer-based cognitive function test was 4% faster in those who consumed 8.5 ounces (250 ml) of beetroot juice daily for two weeks, compared to the placebo. However, whether beets could be used in a clinical setting to improve brain function and reduce the risk of dementia remains to be seen.
Beets contain nitrates, which may help increase blood flow to the brain, improve cognitive function and possibly reduce the risk of dementia. However, more research in this area is needed.