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Consuming One Cup of Leafy Vegetables Daily May Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, arugula, kale, and cabbage have very high levels of nitrates. A recent study has found that consuming one cup of nitrate-rich vegetables daily may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15%.

Participants in the study included 53,150 who took part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. None of the participants had cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. They were followed for an average of 23 years. Participants completed a 192-item Food Frequency Questionnaire at baseline, which was used to calculate vegetable nitrate intake.

Participants with a moderate vegetable nitrate intake (approximately one cup per day) were found to have a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest vegetable nitrate intake (approximately ½ a cup per day). They also had a 12%. 15%, 17%, and 26% lower risk of ischemic heart disease, heart failure, ischemic stroke, and peripheral artery disease respectively.

Participants with the highest vegetable nitrate intake (approximately 2.5 cups per day) were found to have a 2.58 mmHg lower baseline systolic blood pressure and a 1.38 mmHg lower diastolic blood pressure compared to participants with the lowest vegetable nitrate intake.

The study was conducted by researchers from The University of Western Australia. It was published online ahead of print on April 21, 2021 in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

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