Dr Michael Mosley shares the vegetable that ‘could keep your brain healthy as you age’

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“So, I’m at home making sauerkraut. I’ve just been grating in lots of this lovely colourful vegetable,” said Dr Michael Mosley in his BBC Radio 4 podcast. “And I should probably have worn an apron because it’s staining my shirt,” the host noted. The vegetable he’s referring to is beetroot. And apart from being a colourful addition to your meals, it also offers plenty of benefits for your brain.

“This particular vegetable has been shown to improve physical and cognitive performance and may even help you run faster,” the doctor shared.

However, there’s a specific form of beetroot that has been associated with brain benefits through studies.

Dr Mosley said: “Consuming beetroot juice has been shown to boost cognition [and] improve your ability to make quick decisions.

“There are some suggestions it could even be helpful for keeping your brain healthy as you age.”

One way it can aid your brain health is by improving your cognitive function.

In case you’re not aware, cognitive function describes mental abilities, ranging from thinking to problem solving.

While some cognitive decline can be expected as a part of ageing, mild cognitive impairment details the stage between the “normal” and more serious decline that could signal dementia, the Mayo Clinic shares.

However, the “wonderful vegetable” has been found to aid brain health.

Dr Mosley continued: “Not only that it seems this vegetable could have an unbeatable impact on our brains, it’s been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults who exercised and drank beetroot juice.

“The part of their brain networks associated with motor function began to look more like that of younger adults.

“So, it seems that a combination of beetroot and movement really can help keep your brain younger.”

The expert shared that it all comes down to blood flow.

The Just One Thing host explained: “There’s been a really interesting trial that found that drinking beetroot juice increases blood flow in the prefrontal cortex improving the brain’s performance.”

However, the “real secret” behind the veg is that it’s packed with nitrates.

In order not to lose these goodies, the way you prepare beetroot could make a difference.

Professor of Applied Physiology at the University of Exeter, Andrew Jones, joined Dr Mosley’s podcast to break down the research. But he also added how to prepare your beets.

Mr Jones said: “Nitrate is actually water soluble so if you were to boil the vegetable and then throw away the cooking liquor, you’d probably lose majority of the nitrate.

“So, if you’re going to cook a beetroot at home, roasting it or baking it is probably better than boiling it.”

Although there are no side effects to enjoying beets, Dr Mosley warned that the vegetable could turn your wee pink.

“That’s it – it’s just one thing you can incorporate into your daily routine,” he concluded.

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