It’s no secret that vegetables are good for you. However, when it comes to the power of dark, leafy greens, you might need less than you think to help prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure.
A study at Australia’s Edith Cowan University examined the differences between people who regularly consumed large amounts of nitrate-rich vegetables (leafy greens) and those who did not. The intent was to see if these foods helped lower blood pressure or prevent the risk of heart disease.
Over 50,000 Danish citizens participated in the study and 23 years of data were utilized to reach a conclusion. People who ate one cup of raw (or half a cup of cooked) nitrate-rich veggies reduced their risk of heart disease by 12-26%. These same people also had lower systolic blood pressure.
“The greatest reduction in risk was for peripheral artery disease (26%),” Dr. Catherine Bondonno said in a press release, “a type of heart disease characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels of the legs. However, we also found people had a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.”
The other interesting find was that eating more than a cup of uncooked, or half a cup of cooked, leafy green vegetables didn’t improve results. This means supplements to boost your nitrate levels aren’t necessary.
For those who don’t enjoy snacking on kale chips, a small portion of green, leafy veggies is all you need to help improve your heart health. If you’re also a coffee drinker, you have yet another reason to feel positive about your health.
[Via Martha Stewart]