Researchers at Western Australia’s Edith Cowan Institute tracked the dietary habits and cardiovascular health of 1,226 Western Australian women aged between 70 and 85 over 15 years from 1998, focusing on their intake of dietary nitrate, most commonly found in vegetables.
They found that those women whose daily diets included fresh vegetables high in nitrates were significantly less likely to die from atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD) – heart attack or stroke – over the 15-year period than those who ate high-nitrate vegies only irregularly.
Six vegetables were found to be especially beneficial for atherosclerotic health thanks to their high levels of nitrate: lettuce, spinach, kale, beetroot, radish and celery.
The WA researchers concluded that eating as little as a cup of raw, high-nitrate salad vegies a day could cut older women’s risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 40% - and, potentially, reduce ASVD risk by similar amounts in the wider population.
The team also noted that daily consumption of a diverse mix of vegetables (likely including at least one of the super six) provides numerous additional health benefits.
This latest finding, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is just one more good reason to eat your greens.
Read the original article: Blekkenhorst LC et al. ‘Association of dietary nitrate with atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality: a prospective cohort study of older adult women’. Am. J. Clin. Nutrition (July 2017)