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Moderate Consumption of Nitrate-Rich Vegetables May Help Improve Cardiovascular Health

Nitrates dilate (widen or relax) the arteries and the veins not only in the heart but also elsewhere in the body. This can help reduce the stress on the heart by improving blood flow to the heart muscle. According to a new study, moderate intake of nitrate-rich vegetables such as spinach, kale, and beetroot may help improve cardiovascular health. 

Participants in the study included 53,150 adults without cardiovascular disease who took part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. Vegetable nitrate intake was evaluated using a vegetable nitrate database. Participants were followed for an average of 23 years and all cardiovascular incidences were recorded. 

Participants with a moderate intake of nitrate-rich vegetables (59 mg of nitrates daily) had a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest consumption. They also had 12%, 15%, 17% and 26% lower risk of ischemic heart disease, heart failure, ischemic stroke and peripheral artery disease hospitalizations respectively. 

Participants with the highest consumption of nitrate-rich vegetables (141 mg of nitrates per day) had a systolic blood pressure that was 2.58 mmHg lower than those with the lowest consumption (23 mg of nitrates daily). They also had a diastolic blood pressure that was 1.38 mmHg lower.  

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 journal Cardiovascular Disease. 

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