Keeping your heart strong becomes increasingly important as you get older. While there are many different ways to promote cardiovascular health, there’s one easy diet tweak that can make a big impact. All it takes is one cup of leafy greens per day.
Scientists from Edith Cowan University looked at data from 53,150 participants who took part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study to monitor the amount of nitrates they got through their diets. Foods that are naturally filled with nitrates and nitrites have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, reduce cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure. Chief among nitrate-rich foods are leafy greens like spinach, kale, cabbage, and beat greens.
In this particular review, the researchers discovered that consuming just a single cup of raw leafy greens or half a cup of cooked leafy greens per day could cut the risk of heart disease anywhere from 12 to 26 percent. This includes lowering the risk of health issues like peripheral artery disease, heart attacks, strokes. and heart failure.
Additionally, scientists found that if you get your single cup of leafy greens per day, you don’t need to worry about taking nitrate supplements to get additional benefits. In fact, the reduced risk of heart disease levels off after eating that recommended amount of daily greens. Researchers also say that while blending greens into recipes like smoothies still gets the same amount of nutrients out of them as eating those foods whole, you should steer clear of juicing your greens. This process takes out many of the key nutrients that you want in the first place, like nitrates.