Consumption of beet juice may help in increasing the blood flow especially to the brain of older adults according to researchers. This new study may help fight dementia. The study was published in the online version of Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, the peer-reviewed journal of the Nitric Oxide Society.

"There have been several very high-profile studies showing that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, but we wanted to show that drinking beet juice also increases perfusion, or blood flow, to the brain," said the Daniel Kim-Shapiro, director of Wake Forest University's Translational Science Center; Fostering Independence in Aging.

"There are areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that's believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition."Leafy vegetables, cabbage, lettuce, celery and beets are rich with deposits of nitrates.

When foods with high concentration of nitrate are consumed nitrate is turned into nitrite by the good bacteria present in the mouth.

According to the research, these nitrites may help in opening the blood vessels. This will help in increasing the oxygen levels and the blood flow especially in areas which lack oxygen.

The study is the pioneer in finding the connection between use of beet juice which is nitrate-rich and the enhanced blood flow especially to the brain. 14 adults over the age of 70 were examined over four days by Translational Science Center researchers to understand the effect of dietary nitrates on them.

After consuming a high-nitrate diet the MRIs showed an increased blood flow in the adults to the white matter found in the frontal lobes. These are the specific areas of the brain which are associated with deterioration. The lack of oxygen to these areas may lead to many cognitive conditions and dementia.

The associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, Gary Miller said, "I think these results are consistent and encouraging – that good diet consisting of a lot of fruits and vegetables can contribute to overall good health." Many times the beet juice is found to be bitter and to make it easy to consume a beverage based on beet juice is being created.