New research has found that two of many people’s least favourite vegetables could be the most beneficial when it comes to preventing advanced blood vessel disease.
The study found that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, is associated with less extensive blood vessel disease in older women.
Researchers from The University of Western Australia analyzed data from 684 older Australian women. They found that those whose diets contained more cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of having extensive build-up of calcium on their aorta, a key marker for structural blood vessel disease. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away from your heart to the rest of your body.
What is blood vessel disease?
Blood vessel disease is a condition that affects our blood vessels (arteries and veins) and can reduce the flow of blood circulating around the body. A reduction in blood flow can be due to the build-up of fatty, calcium deposits on the inner walls of blood vessels, such as the aorta. This build-up of fatty, calcium deposits is the leading cause of having a heart attack or stroke.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts a cut above
The researchers noted that there was something intriguing about cruciferous vegetables.
In the team’s previous studies, the researchers identified that people with a higher intake of these vegetables had a lower risk of having a cardiovascular disease event, such as a heart attack or stroke, but they weren't sure why.
The new study found that older women who consumed cruciferous vegetables every day were less likely to have extensive calcification on their aorta.
Cruciferous vegetables are a very food source of vitamin K, a nutrient which may be involved in inhibiting the calcification process that occurs in our blood vessels.
In the study, women who consumed more than 45 grams of cruciferous vegetables daily (e.g. ¼ cup of steamed broccoli or ½ cup of raw cabbage) were 46 percent less likely to have extensive build-up of calcium on their aorta in comparison to those consuming little to no cruciferous vegetables every day.
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