Drinking beetroot juice regularly may help check dementia, according to a new study. The dark vegetable with high concentration of nitrates helps increases the blood flow to the brain in older people.

The juice when comes in contact with the bacteria in mouth gets converted to nitrites that helps open blood vessels in the body and hence increasing blood and oxygen flow to the body parts that lacks oxygen. Earlier studies have found that nitrites widen blood vessels. Other vegetable with high concentration of nitrates are celery, cabbage, and leafy green vegetables like spinach.

Daniel Kim-Shapiro, director of the Translational Science Center, Wake Forest University said, “, 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,” . He added, “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.”

Researchers studied 14 adults aged 70 and above over four days on how dietary nitrates affects our body. They were kept on low and high nitrate breakfast. MRI scans showed that older adults kept on a high nitrate diet showed increased blood flow to the brain’s white matter, the parts often associated with the dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Garry Miller, a senior investigator and associate professor in Wake Forest’s Department of Health and Exercise Science 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. “ He added, “Because beet juice doesn’t exactly taste like a sugary soda, Wake Forest has worked with a company to create a new beet juice beverage that is tastier than plain beet juice. “