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Vegetable juice from arugula and spinach against gum inflammation
Caries and gingivitis are the main causes of tooth loss. To counteract the problem, apparently it can help to drink vegetable juice more often. According to a new study, the nitrate contained in various vegetables can significantly improve the course of chronic gum infections.
Nitrate with health-promoting properties
Leafy vegetables such as arugula or spinach have so far often been problematic because of their nitrate content. However, the ostracized ingredient also has health-promoting properties. For example, Swedish scientists recently reported that spinach promotes muscle building. The researchers believe that nitrate increases the concentration of proteins in the muscles. And US researchers wrote earlier in the year in the journal "JAMA Ophthalmology" that vegetables with a high nitrate content can protect against glaucoma. But that's not all: A study by German scientists has now shown that nitrate can help against gingivitis.
Vegetable juice improves the course of gum infections
Nitrate, which plays an important role in the growth and health of plants, accumulates in the leaves of leafy vegetables such as rocket, spinach or Swiss chard. The various leaf salads are among the most important sources of nitrate in human nutrition. A recently published study by the University of Hohenheim and the University Clinic in Würzburg has now shown that nitrate from a commercially available vegetable juice can noticeably improve the course of chronic gum infections after just two weeks.
Consumption of foods rich in nitrates is viewed critically
The food scientist Prof. Dr. Reinhold Carle from the University of Hohenheim said in a statement from the university: "Nitrate per se is not harmful to health." However, the consumption of nitrate-rich foods has so far been considered critical because digestive processes convert nitrate into nitrite, nitrogen oxides and so-called nitrosamines under certain circumstances. "Nitrosamines in particular are considered to be highly carcinogenic and have been linked to the development of esophageal and stomach cancer."
Vitamin C prevents nitrosamine formation
However, scientific studies in recent years have also shown health-promoting effects from eating nitrate-rich leafy vegetables. Ralf Schweiggert from the University of Hohenheim explained: "If vitamin C is also taken in together with the nitrate, nitrosamine formation does not take place." This is usually the case: "Plant-based foods usually contain sufficient amounts of natural vitamin C. Therefore, we have to stop nitrate intake Evaluate leafy greens very differently from salted meat products, to which the additives nitrate or nitrite are added. "
Patients with chronic gum disease
Together with the periodontist Prof. Ulrich Schlagenhauf from the University Hospital Würzburg, the research team led by Prof. Carle showed that this nitrate from vegetable plants can even have health-promoting properties. They published their results in the journal "Clinical Periodontology".
The 44 study participants with chronic gingivitis were initially divided into two groups. The first group of 21 people consumed a placebo salad drink developed by Prof. Carle and his team three times a day over a period of two weeks. The naturally contained nitrate was removed from this by a special adsorber process. The second group of 23 people received the identical test drink with the originally contained amount of nitrate at equal time intervals.
"Amazed at the differences"
The subjects were examined before the start of the study and for the first time after 14 days. "We were amazed at the differences," said Prof. Ulrich Schlagenhauf. “Clear and statistically significant improvements in the gingivitis of our patients could be seen after only two weeks. In the placebo group, in the group in which the nitrate in the test drink was removed, however, we could not find any improvement. "
According to the researchers, dietary nitrate is quickly absorbed into the stomach and upper small intestine and then transported through the blood to the salivary glands. There a good quarter of the nitrate absorbed is released into the saliva. In this way, the nitrate concentration in the oral cavity is noticeably increased not only when drinking the salad juice drink, but also over a longer period afterwards.
Nitric oxide can trigger anti-inflammatory processes
As explained in the university's announcement, 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 could directly help to reduce gum inflammation by inhibiting harmful bacteria. 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.
We do not recommend eating leafy greens
"The results of the study should also fuel the health debate about nitrates from plant foods," said Prof. Carle. "Neither the World Health Organization nor the European Food Safety Authority advise against eating leafy greens, especially if you are not limited to the particularly nitrate-rich rocket, but rather put together and prepared various leafy salads and vegetables in a balanced manner." (Ad)