What a single cup of veggies can do for your heart

If there is one health problem that is most likely to steal your life, it’s one that affects your heart.

In fact, heart problems aren’t just responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other condition, it’s also the number one cause of death globally.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

While there’s a huge list of medications you could take, they all come with their very own laundry list of side effects.

You would think there would have to be a better way. And there is… you could adopt a super healthy lifestyle, like the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8, which includes exercise and a healthier diet.

But start with the diet first, because you’ll be shocked at the difference just a single cup of vegetables can have on your heart …

Significantly reduced the risk of heart problems

A study by a team from New Edith Cowan University examined data from over 50,000 people over 23 years.

One thing was clear: the people who consumed the most nitrate-rich vegetables had lower blood pressure and a much lower risk of heart problems.

And, by “most”, they really didn’t have to eat that much of the green stuff at all…

They found that eating just one cup of raw nitrate-rich vegetables (or ½ cup cooked) each day:

  • Reduced their systolic blood pressure an average of 2.5 mmHg;
  • And lowered their risk of heart problems between 12 to 26 percent!

Eating more didn’t seem to increase those benefits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t if you want to — because we know leafy greens are chock full of other full-body health benefits.

Another bit of good news they gleaned from the study is that the healthy results were long-lasting…

The same people who ate nitrate-rich vegetables were far less likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular problems even many years later.

Why nitrate-rich veggies support heart health

The connection between heart health and nitrate-rich vegetables centers on the importance of a compound known as nitric oxide, or NO.

Your body cannot function well, if at all, without a constantly circulating supply of nitric oxide. It plays several important roles in maintaining our health…

Dietary nitrates, found in a few special foods like beets, are converted within your body to nitric oxide, a compound that helps blood vessels dilate so more oxygen-rich blood can flow through your body. That’s because it is a natural vasodilator. It supports healthy blood pressure and circulation which naturally boosts energy.

Nitric oxide also keeps your mitochondria running. Your cells’ mitochondria are the “powerhouse” of the body. It’s here that many major energy-producing functions take place.

Get your greens and greenlight your heart health

So which vegetables are rich in nitrates to help you keep your ticker ticking?

According to the researchers, great options include spinach and especially beetroot. Other good sources are arugula, leeks, Swiss chard, rhubarb and celery.

You can eat them raw, drop them into a banana or berry smoothie, or go for them cooked any way you like. The researchers did warn against juicing your greens or beets because you lose the benefits of pulp and fiber that way.

Whole food sources are always best, and the researchers indicated as much, but getting more vegetables into your diet has gotten much easier with the popularity of powdered nutrition.

If you’re not a big veggie person, or you don’t think you’ll hit the magic one-cup-a-day rule to grab the benefits nitrate-rich vegetables offer, consider a greens or beets powder mix.

Powdered nutrition also means less waste. How often have you resolved to eat better only to let all the produce in your crisper go bad? Don’t feel bad, I’ve been there, too — but not anymore! My fridge and my heart are both happier about that.

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Statin side effects: Weigh the benefits and risks — Mayo Clinic

Types of Heart Medications — American Heart Association

One cup of leafy green vegetables a day lowers risk of heart disease — EurekAlert!

Virginia Tims-Lawson

By Virginia Tims-Lawson

Virginia Tims-Lawson has dedicated her life to researching and studying natural health after her mother had a stroke that left her blind in one eye at the age of 47, and her grandmother and two great uncles died from heart attacks. Spurred by her family history, Virginia’s passion to improve her and her family’s health through alternative practices, nutrients and supplements has become a mission she shares through her writing. She is founder of the nutritional supplement company Peak Pure & Natural®.