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Eating More Cruciferous Vegetables Linked to Reduced Risk of Hardening Neck Arteries

It’s well known that eating more vegetables is good for your health. However, different vegetables have different effects. A recent study suggests that eating more vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables, may help protect against hardening of neck arteries in mature women.


Participants in the study included 954 Australian women age 70 and older. All of the women filled out food frequency questionnaires, which included indicating a range of vegetable intake from “never eating vegetables” to “three or more times per day.” Vegetable types included cruciferous, allium vegetables, yellow/orange/red vegetables, leafy green, and legumes. The researchers used sonograms to measure carotid artery wall thickness. They also examined entire carotid trees in order to determine carotid plaque severity.


The researchers noted that the women who consumed the most vegetables had a 0.05-millimeter lower carotid artery wall thickness than the women who consumed the least vegetables. A 0.1-millimeter decrease in carotid wall thickness is associated with a 10% to 18% lower risk of stroke or heart attack.


The researchers also noted that each additional 10 grams per day in cruciferous vegetable intake was associated with 0.8% lower average carotid artery wall thickness. No other type of vegetable had a similar association with carotid artery wall thickness.


The results held even after adjusting for potentially confounding factors.


Researchers from the University of Western Australia led the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 4, 2018, in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and horseradish. Previous studies suggest that consuming more cruciferous vegetables may help with heart health, depression symptoms, pain management, and lowering inflammation.

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