An Australian study of 954 women aged 70 and older has found that the more vegetables older women eat, the less likely they are to develop plaque accumulation in their arteries. Lauren Blekkenhorst, a nutrition researcher at the University of Western Australia and lead author of the study, found that study participants averaged 2.7 servings of vegetables per day. Using a food questionnaire to categorize responses, researchers determined that women who consumed three servings of vegetables per day had artery walls that were about 5 percent less thick than women who ate less than two servings. One of the most beneficial types of vegetables for artery health was found to be the crucifer family — cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. For each third of an ounce more cruciferous vegetables participants ate, they had a corresponding 0.8 percent less artery wall thickness. This means even a small increase in vegetable consumption can have big benefits for vascular health. Blekkenhorst hypothesizes that eating vegetables may make arteries healthier because it leaves less room for junk food. In addition, the vitamins and minerals present in vegetables have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which can lead to better cardiovascular health. Although the study was not meant to predict long-term cardiovascular health, it does show how easily your diet impacts vascular health. Adding just a serving or two of vegetables to your diet each day can make help you stay healthier, longer.
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