Scientists at the University of Exeter in the UK have discovered additional health benefits of freshly squeezed beetroot juice. They have shown that drinking this juice regularly can help improve the oral microbiome, strengthen blood vessels, and even improve cognitive performance in older people.
Root crops - in particular, beets - as well as celery, lettuce, spinach contain inorganic salts of nitric acid. Microorganisms present in the oral cavity transform such salts into nitrite - the progenitor of nitric oxide, an active neurotransmitter and a compound that regulates vascular tone. In the process of age-related changes, the production of nitric oxide in the body decreases, which entails a deterioration in the functioning of the cardiovascular system and a loss of cognitive capabilities.
Experts conducted a study in which 26 elderly patients took part, without obvious deviations in health, with normal blood pressure, leading an active lifestyle. The participants were divided into two groups: the first group was supplemented with beet juice containing natural salts of nitric acid in the diet for ten days. Another group received a placebo drink, which was to be drunk twice a day.
At the end of the project, the scientists compared blood pressure and the quality of the oral microbiome in two groups of participants. In the first group, a decrease in the number of pathogenic microorganisms in the mouth was found - in particular, there were fewer such bacteria that caused the development of cardiovascular pathologies, cognitive impairments, and systemic inflammatory processes. In addition, in the representatives of the first group , systolic blood pressure indicators decreased by about 5 mm Hg. Art., which also indicates the positive effect of beetroot juice.
The representatives of the second group did not show any special changes.
The study authors are confident that the results obtained can be an important link in planning healthy aging. If the diet regularly contains foods enriched with natural inorganic salts of nitric acid, then in a short period of time it will be possible to qualitatively improve the microbiome of the oral cavity. What's more, scientists strongly recommend eating a plant-based diet for all seniors. It is necessary to slow down the aging process of the heart and blood vessels, to support cognitive ability at any age.
A little earlier, experts have already conducted a study comparing the composition of bacteria in the oral cavity in young and old people, in sick and healthy people. But the experiment concerning the use of products with natural nitrates was carried out by scientists for the first time.
Source of information: The University of Exeter