Study: One Cup of Leafy Green Vegetables A Day Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Jill Murphy, Associate Editor

The study investigated whether people who regularly ate higher quantities of nitrate-rich vegetables, such as leafy greens and beetroot, had lower blood pressure.

New research from Edith Cowan University has found that by eating just 1 cup of nitrate-rich vegetables each day, people can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease.

The study investigated whether people who regularly ate higher quantities of nitrate-rich vegetables, such as leafy greens and beetroot, had lower blood pressure. The study authors also examined whether these same people were less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease many years later.

The researchers examined data from more than 50,000 people residing in Denmark taking part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study over a 23-year period. The results showed that people who consumed the most nitrate-rich vegetables had approximately 2.5mmHg lower systolic blood pressure and between a 12% and 26% lower risk of heart disease.

“Our results have shown that by simply eating one cup of raw (or half a cup of cooked) nitrate-rich vegetables each day, people may be able to significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Catherine Bondonno, MD, in the press release. “The greatest reduction in risk was for peripheral artery disease (26%), a type of heart disease characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels of the legs, however we also found people had a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.”

Additionally, the study found that the maximum number of nitrate-rich vegetables was 1 cup a day and eating more than this did not provide any additional benefits.

“People don’t need to be taking supplements to boost their nitrate levels because the study showed that 1 cup of leafy green vegetables each day is enough to reap the benefits for heart disease,” Bondonno said in the press release. “We did not see further benefits in people who ate higher levels of nitrate rich vegetables.”

Bondonno added that an easy way to reach this goal is to juice vegetables or create a smoothie for optimum intake.

REFERENCE

One cup of leafy green vegetables a day lowers risk of heart disease. Edith Cowan University. Published May 4, 2021. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.ecu.edu.au/news/latest-news/2021/04/one-cup-of-leafy-green-vegetables-a-day-lowers-risk-of-heart-disease