Consumption of one cup of leafy green vegetables a day lowers risk for heart disease, according to research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers tracked nitrate-rich vegetable intake in participants from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study and tracked heart disease incidence. Those who consumed the most nitrate-rich vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, and potatoes, had lower baseline blood pressure levels when compared to those who ate the least. Consuming one cup, or 59 mg/day, of nitrate-rich vegetables lowered heart disease risk by 15% and lowered risk for ischemic heart disease, heart failure, ischemic stroke, and peripheral artery disease hospitalizations by 12%, 15%, 17%, and 26%, respectively. Increased intake of nitric oxide from vegetables improves blood flow and may account for the protective effect of dietary nitrates.
Bondonno CP, Dalgaard F, Blekkenhorst LC, et al. Vegetable nitrate intake, blood pressure and incident cardiovascular disease: Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. Eur J Epidemiol. Published online April 21, 2021. doi: 10.1007/s10654-021-00747-3