Heart issues are the top reason people die all around the world, taking nearly 18 million lives every year. Many things can mess with your heart’s health—bad eating habits, not moving enough, smoking, or even your family history.
But there’s some good news: Researchers have discovered a simple change you can make in your eating habits that could help protect your heart.
A Cup of Veggies Can Make a Big Difference
Scientists from Edith Cowan University looked at how a certain type of vegetables could help. They found that if you eat just one cup of these special veggies every day, you’re less likely to get heart disease.
These aren’t just any veggies; they have to be rich in something called “nitrates.” These nitrates are good for you because they can lower your blood pressure and keep your blood vessels working right.
What veggies should you eat? The best ones are beetroots and leafy greens like kale, spinach, and arugula. Other good choices are parsley, Chinese cabbage, leeks, celery, radishes, and turnips.
What the Study Tells Us
The researchers looked at the eating habits and health of over 50,000 people in Denmark for 23 years.
They found that the folks who ate the most of these nitrate-rich veggies had better blood pressure and were less likely to get certain kinds of heart diseases.
One of these diseases, called “peripheral artery disease,” happens when blood vessels in your legs get narrow. The study showed that eating these special veggies reduced the risk of this disease by 26%.
That’s a lot! People who ate these veggies were also less likely to have heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure.
You don’t need to eat a mountain of these veggies to see benefits. Just one cup of raw veggies—or half a cup if they’re cooked—is enough.
If you eat more than that, it won’t hurt, but it won’t help much more either. You don’t even need special supplements or pills. Just add these veggies to your meals.
One easy tip is to put a cup of spinach into a smoothie with some bananas or berries. It’s a tasty and easy way to get your daily dose.
This study, led by Dr. Catherine Bondonno and her team, gives us a better idea of how simple diet changes can make a big difference in keeping our hearts healthy.
They shared their findings in a medical journal, but we’re sharing it with you in plain language because we think everyone should know how to take care of their heart.
So, go ahead and add that extra cup of leafy greens to your meal. Your heart will thank you for it.
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