Drinking an infusion made with nitrate-rich vegetables once a day can be a simple and healthy way to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
New research from Edith Cowan University (Australia) has found that people who regularly ate higher amounts of nitrate-rich vegetables – green leafy vegetables and beets – had lower blood pressure and were less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease years later.
The researchers examined data from more than 50,000 people residing in Denmark who participated in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study over a 23-year period.
They found that those who ate the vegetables richest in nitrates had a lower systolic blood pressure of about 2.5 mmHg and a risk of heart disease between 12 and 26 percent lower.
Identifying diets to prevent heart disease is a priority. “Our results have shown that simply drinking a cup of raw nitrate-rich vegetables (or half a cup cooked) each day can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says researcher Catherine Bondon.
The results of the study published in the “European Journal of Epidemiology” showed that the greatest reduction in risk was in the case of peripheral artery disease, a heart disease characterized by narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs.
However, Bondon adds, ‘we also found that people had a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure».
The study found that the optimal amount of nitrate-rich vegetables was one cup a day, and taking more did not appear to provide any additional benefit.
The research adds to growing evidence linking vegetables in general, and leafy greens specifically, to better cardiovascular health and muscle strength.