While vegetables get a lot of credit for improving your health, there’s one forgotten vegetable that’s turning out to be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to your memory.
This vegetable contains a natural compound that scientists say helps brain cells survive and thrive as you age.
So, read on to find out how it can help you strengthen your memory for years to come…
It’s not news that the brain is a remarkably busy organ. But what you may not know is that all that activity makes it vulnerable to what’s called oxidative stress – the collection of reactive, oxidative, caustic waste products that are created by the brain’s constant need for energy
That’s why antioxidant natural substances found in vegetables and fruit are so important to maintaining a strong memory as you age. Now, researchers point to the humble beet and the natural compound that gives beets their red color, betanin, as one of the most important antioxidant compounds for the health of your memory.
Protects Brain Neurons
A study shows that betanin helps protect brain neurons and other cells from oxidative stress. In the study, researchers watched under a microscope as betanin interacted with free radicals and defused their destructive power.1
Added to that, the research shows that betanin powers up your body’s own antioxidant defenses. It does this by positively affecting genes that release cellular signals which stimulate the creation and release of your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes that further protect the brain.2
In other words, betanin not only protects against free radicals, it makes sure that neurons and other brain cells get on the ball and defend themselves more effectively.
Betanin can also help protect the integrity of proteins in the brain that neurons need for better communication with other neurons, leading to a healthy memory and good cognitive function.
Helping Proteins Get Folded Properly In The Brain
Many essential proteins in the brain consist of complex molecules that have to be folded properly to function correctly. When the brain’s proteins become distorted and misfolded, those deformities can make the brain more vulnerable to neurodegenerative conditions. Whether or not these misfolded proteins are a cause of Alzheimer’s disease is controversial, but proteins that contain errors in their geometrical construction are linked to higher rates of memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Researchers in the Middle East report that when misfolded proteins of beta-amyloid connect with metals like iron and copper, they can disrupt the brain’s synpases – the areas where neurons pass on electro-chemical signals to each other for healthy communication. But in lab tests, betanin was found to stop the folding abnormalities and help brain cells resist the breakdown of the neuron-to-neuron exchange of information.3
Plus, another study in the Middle East demonstrates that betanin’s brain benefits include helping mitochondria – the little organelles that neurons and other cells use to produce energy – resist damage and dysfunction from reactive oxygen species.4
What’s more, according to lab tests in Asia, these antioxidant effects suggest that betanin may be able to dramatically lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.5
Ramping Up The Body’s Defenses
As researchers continue to look into the properties of betanin, they’re reaching other intriguing conclusions about its health benefits. The science shows that betanin could:
- Lower the risk of cancer: Tests in France show that betanin can act as a “therapeutic anti-cancer compound.” This research shows that betanin causes certain cancer cells to express “death signalling pathways,” such as apoptosis, and self-destruct.6
- Improve blood flow and heart health: Studies have long linked beets and betanin with improved heart health. The research shows that betanin can protect the interior lining of blood vessels, the endothelial lining, against damage that can trigger clogged arteries and heart disease.7
- Protect against the physiological damage caused by some drug overdoses: Lab tests demonstrate that betanin can ease the effects of ingesting excessive amounts of some prescription and over the counter painkillers. In these cases, betanin defends against brain cell DNA damage linked to drug overdoses.8
- Prove useful for fighting malaria: Lab tests in West Africa, where malaria is particularly problematic, demonstrate that betanin and related natural compounds may help provide non-toxic treatments to help the body heal during malarial outbreaks.9
If you’d like to take advantage of the memory-boosting benefits shown in new research on this powerhouse beet compound, you can start by eating or juicing beets. You can also find beet root extract supplements that contain betanin along with other beet compounds.
Even food manufacturers are starting to take a closer look at the health benefits of betanin. Some researchers are now promoting the idea of using this plant pigment as a natural food coloring. Added to foods, it’s effective at making food appear a deeper red color and look more appealing. And, of course, it would be healthier to consume betanin than the artificial dyes that are so prevalent in processed foods right now.
And this idea is catching on! A market report shows that worldwide sales of betanin as a coloring agent are growing at a “robust” rate of about five percent a year.10