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Eat your celery for a healthy brain

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Eat your celery for a healthy brain

Nitrate-rich foods such as lettuce, spinach and celery keep your blood vessels and brain healthy.

The foods promote ‘good’ bacteria in the mouth, which help regulate blood vessels and neurotransmission, or chemical messaging to the brain.

The diet becomes more important as we get older and our natural ability to produce nitric oxide declines, say researchers from the University of Exeter.

The foods—together with beetroot juice, which the researchers used for their experiment—are rich in inorganic nitrate, and bacteria in our mouth converts this to nitric oxide, which helps maintain vascular and cognitive health.

The researchers gave beetroot juice to 26 healthy adults for 10 days before switching to a nitrate-free placebo juice. They drank both juices twice a day.

After drinking the beetroot juice, the participants had higher levels of bacteria that is linked to good vascular and cognitive health and lower levels of bacteria associated with general disease and inflammation. Systolic blood pressure levels also dropped by an average of five points after participants drank the beetroot.

(Source: Redox Biology, 2021; 41: 101933)

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