Leafy vegetables strengthen your teeth
Leafy vegetables rich in nitrates have so far been considered problematic. This is confirmed by a recently published study. Nitrate from a commercially available vegetable juice can noticeably improve the course of chronic gum infections after just two weeks.
Leafy greens such as rocket, spinach, chard and various leaf salads are among the most important sources of nitrate in human nutrition.
"Nitrate itself is not harmful to health," explains food scientist Prof. Dr. Reinhold Carle from the University of Hohenheim. However, eating nitrate-rich foods has so far been considered critical because, under certain circumstances, digestive processes convert nitrate to nitrite, nitrogen oxides and so-called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines in particular are considered to be highly carcinogenic and have been linked to the development of esophageal and stomach cancer. The team of scientists showed that this nitrate from vegetable plants can even have health-promoting properties.
Vegetable nitrate for gum inflammation
The researchers initially divided a total of 44 participants with chronic gum inflammation into two groups. The first group of 21 people consumed a placebo salad juice drink three times a day over a period of two weeks. The naturally contained nitrate was removed from the placebo drink using a special adsorber process.
The second group of 23 people received the identical test drink with the originally contained amount of nitrate at the same time intervals.
The subjects were examined before the start of the study and for the first time after 14 days. After two weeks, significant and statistically significant improvements in the gingivitis of the verum group were observed. In contrast, no improvement was found in the placebo group, i.e. the group in which the nitrate in the test drink was removed.
Nitrate-rich vegetable juice stimulates natural nitrate-nitrite-NO metabolism
The researchers explain the mechanism of action as follows: Dietary nitrate is rapidly absorbed in the stomach and upper small intestine and then transported via the blood to the salivary glands.
A good quarter of the nitrate absorbed is released into the saliva there. In this way, the nitrate concentration in the oral cavity is not only measurably increased when drinking the salad juice drink, but also over a longer period afterwards.
Certain bacteria that are found in the entire throat and especially in the interdental spaces convert the nitrate into nitrite. On the one hand, this has an antimicrobial effect and, by inhibiting harmful bacteria, could directly help alleviate gum inflammation. On the other hand, it is converted to nitrogen monoxide (NO). The latter is considered to lower blood pressure, promote blood circulation and can trigger anti-inflammatory processes in the body.