Cruciferous Vegetables May Reduce Stroke Risk
Australian researchers found eating vegetables, especially the cruciferous variety, was associated with decreased thickness of the carotid arteries in elderly women. As these vessels are the main arteries in the neck, which transport blood to the brain, the foods could help prevent a stroke.
Cruciferous vegetables include, but are not limited to, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, kale and Brussels sprouts. A few earlier studies suggest they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may have value in fighting certain types of cancer. Like other vegetables, they are rich in nutrients and fiber; but they also contain sulfur compounds called glucosinolates that may be responsible for some of their health benefits.
“This is one of only a few studies that have explored the potential impact of different types of vegetables on measures of subclinical atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease,” said Lauren Blekkenhorst, lead author and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Australia and research associate at Edith Cowan University in Australia.
In the study, 954 Australian women aged 70 and older completed food questionnaires that surveyed the frequency and types of vegetables consumed. Vegetable types included cruciferous, green leafy, legumes, yellow/orange/red and allium, which is a category comprised of leeks, onions, garlic and shallots.
Carotid artery health was assessed through sonograms to determine the thickness of the blood vessel walls. In addition, entire carotid trees were inspected to ascertain plaque severity.
High Vegetable Intake Linked to Reduced Carotid Thickness
Analysis of the data showed women with a high total vegetable intake had a 0.05-millimeter less carotid artery wall thickness than women with a low intake. Thinner artery walls means the blood vessels are clearer, a benefit that results in more room for blood flow.
“That is likely significant, because a 0.1-millimeter decrease in carotid wall thickness is associated with a 10 percent to 18 percent decrease in risk of stroke and heart attack,” Blekkenhorst said.
Moreover, each 10 grams per day higher intake of cruciferous vegetables was linked to a 0.8-percent lower thickness of carotid arteries. The other vegetables didn’t show an association with carotid artery wall thickness.
“After adjusting for lifestyle, cardiovascular disease risk factors (including medication use) as well as other vegetable types and dietary factors, our results continued to show a protective association between cruciferous vegetables and carotid artery wall thickness,” Blekkenhorst said.
Because the study was observational, it doesn’t prove a cause-effect relationship. “Still, dietary guidelines should highlight the importance of increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables for protection from vascular disease,” Blekkenhorst said.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Looking to add more cruciferous veggies to your meals? iFit’s registered dietitian, Megan Ostler MS, RDN, CNSC shared a delicious brussels sprouts salad recipe with Live in the Now. Click the link below to check it out. Enjoy!
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.