Find eating vegetables a pain in the neck? Think again…
We have long known that vegetables are one of the key stones of a healthy diet, loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for health, as well as antioxidants. Yet there is still so much detail we have yet to discover as to how wide the impact might be. Research from earlier this year provides a good example. One of only a few studies to have explored the potential impact of different types of vegetables on measures of subclinical atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, suggested that eating vegetables is linked to better health of arteries in the neck.
Vegetables may help protect elderly women from hardening of neck arteries
This observational study of Australian women aged 70 or older looked at ultrasound images of the carotid arteries in about a thousand individuals and evaluated survey information about what they had ate for a year. Those who stated they ate three or more servings of vegetables per day had less thickening of the walls of the carotid arteries, compared with women reporting less than two servings per day. Cruciferous vegetables – Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower – were associated with the strongest benefit.
Why this is so important? The carotid arteries in the neck supply blood to the brain. Thickened walls of the carotids can be a sign of plaque build-up, which is laying the ground for a stroke. So, while this observational study does not prove cause, it certainly suggests regularly adding portions of cruciferous vegetables to our plates might help protect us from vascular disease in ways we can barely credit.
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