Turns out, the purple veg could be a dental lifesaver
Beetroots? They've had a bit of an image revamp. From the musty, jarred pickled veg beloved by no one but elderly relatives to the must-have BFF of kale. Ye olde beetroot has had a total popularity turnaround.
And it looks like that figure may be set to shoot straight into the stratosphere.
New research from students at the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria suggests that drinking the vegetable's juice could help prevent tooth decay.
The students realised that the high inorganic nitrate levels found in beetroots are converted by the body into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, for the uninitiated, is key to slowing down the production of acid-causing bacteria, which when left unregulated, attacks your teeth and leads to cavities.
The idea was tested on 50 people, with half being given an intense juice made from beetroots and half drinking a nitrate-free juice. When it came to testing, those who were given the beetrooty number had fewer acids in their mouths than the others.
Of the findings, study lead Dr Otmar Höglinger said: “We concluded that regularly consuming beetroot juice provides enough nitrite to control the growth of lactic acid bacteria.”
When we asked a spokesperson for the British Dental Health Foundation for their take on the study, they had this to say: "This is definitely something to watch; oral probiotics certainly have some potential, but it is difficult to tell from this study what exactly the effects are due to the small sample.
"Although there may be some positive effects, brushing our teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste is still the most effective way of beating tooth decay.
"Be wary of the staining effect of beetroot on the teeth too; we definitely would accept further research into this to fully understand the effects.”
Time to get glugging? We're not about to put our standard toothpaste in the bin just yet. But we'll grab any excuse to chow down on some more yummy beet dishes.
Like this? Then try these:
- Is beetroot the new kale?
- Beetroot, lentil and goat's cheese salad recipe
- Everything you need to know about beetroot
And for more fun foodie stuff direct to your inbox sign up to our weekly newsletter