One cup of green leafy vegetables daily is key to reducing blood pressure

Another study is confirming a growing volume of studies showing the importance of vegetables in our diet and how they relate to one’s health. This most recent Danish study shows how important eating nitrate rich vegetables is to your cardiovascular health, reducing the potential for stroke, and keeping your blood pressure in check.

The study concluded that eating one cup of green leafy vegetables daily (the equivalent of 60 mg) will help to keep your cardiovascular system healthy, overall. The study was over 23 years in the making as over 40,000 participants were followed up with regularly regarding their eating habits and their cardiovascular health.

From the study: “In this prospective cohort study of 53,150 Danish people without CVD at baseline, we found that a higher vegetable nitrate intake was associated with a lower SBP and DBP at baseline. Furthermore, we observed that a moderate intake of vegetable nitrate was inversely associated with incident CVD, with no additional benefits observed for higher intakes. This association was partially mediated by SBP and was stronger in individuals with high alcohol consumption than in those with a low to moderate alcohol consumption. For CVD subtypes, individuals with moderate to high vegetable nitrate intakes had a lower risk of atherosclerotic CVD hospitalisations, namely IHD, ischemic stroke, heart failure, and PAD, but not for other CVD hospitalisations, namely haemorrhagic stroke or AF.

We observed that participants in the highest quintile of vegetable nitrate intake had a 2.58 mmHg lower SBP and a 1.38 mmHg lower DBP at baseline, compared to those in the lowest quintile. In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, a 2 mmHg lower SBP was associated with 17.9 fewer CHD events, 9.6 fewer stroke events, and 26.6 fewer heart failure events per 100,000 person-years [35]. Framingham Heart Study investigators observed that a 2 mmHg lower DBP was associated with a 6% lower risk of CHD and a 15% lower risk of stroke in men and women aged 35–64 years [36]. Our results support findings from short-term clinical trials, and meta-analyses of these trials, demonstrating a benefit of nitrate intake on BP [37]. However, not all clinical trials have observed a reduction in BP with nitrate intake. The majority of clinical trials observe reductions in BP with nitrate intake in normotensive individuals, however effects in individuals with high-normal BP and hypertension are less clear [37]. The largest clinical trial to date [38], did not observe a reduction in BP in 243 older subjects with elevated BP after 5 weeks nitrate intake. Interestingly, we observed an inverse association between vegetable nitrate intake and BP in individuals both on and not on anti-hypertensive medication.”

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