Mouthwash can mess with your workout, a new study says

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(Jay Polish/ Bustle) — You might already know that your blood pressure tends to get lower after you work out, and this is generally a good thing. As you’re strengthening your heart and getting your blood vessels accustomed to the larger blood volumes you need to pump when you’re getting your gym on, you can often reduce high blood pressure through exercise. But a new study says that if you rinse your mouth with mouthwash after a workout, you may reduce those blood pressure-lowering benefits.

The study, published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, was focused on a particular type of bacteria that lives in your mouth. And before you panic, remember that you have billions of oral bacteria in your mouth at any given time, and most of them are friendly to your body. One such species of friendly bacteria takes the compound nitrate and converts it into nitric oxide, which helps your body dilate your blood vessels.

And this is quite relevant after your workout, because when nitric oxide helps maintain the widening of your blood vessels that started during your workout. This widening is one of the mechanisms that helps working out lower your blood pressure, because pressure is lower when blood has a wider, less constricted space to travel through. (…)

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