Health experts point out that consuming enough of a variety of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature death. Leafy green vegetables are among the best for promoting heart health.
A study published in the journal Circulation of the American Heart Association reveals that participants who consumed five servings of fruits and vegetables (2 fruit and 3 vegetables) per day had a 12% lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
The fruits and vegetables that showed the greatest benefits were green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce and kale; as well as those rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries and carrots.
A study from Edith Cowan University in Australia found that green leafy vegetables and other vegetables high in nitrates have a significant benefit for the heart. Eating a cup of these vegetables every day was linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
The study suggests that at least one cup of raw green leafy vegetables or half a cup of cooked green leafy vegetables of this type per day is adequate for long-term heart health.
Green leafy vegetables rich in nitrates include spinach, lettuce, arugula, bok choy and parsley. Leafy vegetables that are high in nitrate include radishes, fennel, and beets.
Most green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them great to add to your plate.