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New study shines a light on the health benefits of beetroot juice

New study shines a light on the health benefits of beetroot juice

Drinking beetroot juice promotes a mix of mouth bacteria associated with healthier blood vessels and brain function, according to a new study by the University of Exeter.

New study shines a light on the health benefits of beetroot juice

Beetroot – and other foods including lettuce, spinach and celery – are rich in inorganic nitrate, and many oral bacteria play a role in turning nitrate to nitric oxide, which helps to regulate blood vessels and neurotransmission (chemical messages in the brain).

As we age, nitric oxide production reduces and this is associated with poorer vascular (blood vessel) and cognitive (brain) health.

For the study, one group of participants drank a nitrate-rich beetroot juice twice a day for 10 days. Another group drank a nitrate-free placebo juice.

Compared to the placebo group, the group that drank the beetroot juice showed higher levels of bacteria associated with good vascular and cognitive health, and lower levels of bacteria linked to disease and inflammation.

“Our findings suggest that adding nitrate-rich foods to the diet for as little as 10 days can substantially alter our oral microbiome (mix of bacteria) for the better,” says lead author Professor Anni Vanhalato.

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