If there's been as much snow in your neck of the woods this past winter as there has been in mine, you've probably got some new spots of rust on your car or truck this spring.
It's a fact of life in places where moisture meets metal!
But what you may not know is that the same process that causes rust on your ride can also cause "corrosion" in your BRAIN.
It's called "oxidation" -- and recent research suggests that the damage oxidation does to your gray matter may be a root cause of Alzheimer's disease.
But according to a new study, there's something natural that can help "rust-proof" your brain and protect your precious memories.
I'm talking about BEETS!
That's because a compound that gives this root vegetable its deep red color -- called "betanin" -- may stop oxidation in its tracks.
In the study, which was recently presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers conducted a series of lab experiments on a protein called beta-amyloid.
Now, even though we don't know exactly what sets off Alzheimer's disease, we do know that it's linked to the build-up of beta-amyloid "plaques" in the brain.
These plaques are known to ramp up inflammation and oxidation. And when that happens, nearby neurons "rust" and die, causing the memory loss of Alzheimer's.
In the study, researchers found that when beta-amyloid bound to minerals like iron and copper (just as it does in your brain), it set off substantial oxidation.
But when they added betanin from beets to the mix, oxidation dropped by 90 percent!
The theory is that because betanin can bind to metals like iron and copper, it can block their effect on beta-amyloid, much like a coat of oil can protect the undercarriage of your car.
What a concept!
And that's not the only way that beets can help guard your brain from the ravages of Alzheimer's.
To extend the car analogy, blood flow is what keeps your brain "well-oiled" -- because your blood carries critical oxygen and nutrients that nourish your gray matter.
And we know that when blood flow to your brain is decreased -- whether from heart troubles or blood vessel damage -- your risk of Alzheimer's soars.
But studies have shown that another compound in beets, called nitrate, can substantially INCREASE blood flow to your brain.
As I've shared with you before, that's because your body converts nitrate into nitric oxide (NO), which relaxes your blood vessels and lets the blood gush through unobstructed.
So, if you want to keep your brain in tip-top shape, try drinking a daily glass of beetroot juice.
You'll find it at health food stores and specialty grocers. Just look for a brand without added sugar.
Beets are also delicious when sliced up and added to salads -- but if you don't like the earthy taste, beetroot powder is also available in capsule form.