The findings displayed increased levels of bacteria linked to good vascular and cognitive health. Decreased levels of bacteria associated with disease and inflammation and a drop in blood pressure were also found.
“We are really excited about these findings, which have important implications for healthy aging,” lead author professor Anni Vanhatalo said in a statement. “Previous studies have compared the oral bacteria of young and older people, and healthy people compared to those with diseases, but ours is the first to test nitrate-rich diet in this way.
“Our findings suggest that adding nitrate-rich foods to the diet – in this case via beetroot juice – for just ten days can substantially alter the oral microbiome (mix of bacteria) for the better. Maintaining this healthy oral microbiome in the long term might slow down the negative vascular and cognitive changes associated with aging.”
The study was published in the May 2021 issue of the journal Redox Biology.