A new study of older women living in Australia finds that eating more vegetables — especially cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower — might help to prevent clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, a main cause of heart attack and stroke.
“This is one of only a few studies,” explains lead study author Lauren Blekkenhorst, currently at the University of Western Australia in Perth, “that have explored the potential impact of different types of vegetables on measures of subclinical atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease.”
In a paper that is now published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, she and her colleagues suggest that, should their findings be confirmed in further studies, guidelines on how to eat healthfully should emphasize that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may protect against vascular disease.
What are Cruciferous Vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables belongTrusted Source to the Brassica genus, which is why they are also called brassicas. In the United States, they might also be referred to as cole crops.
Such vegetables include arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, horseradish, turnips, radish, watercress, collard greens, and others.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of: fiber; vitamins C, E, and K; several carotenoids; folate; and minerals. They also contain sulfur compounds known as glucosinolates, which account for their somewhat bitter taste and pungent smell; glucosinolates and are also thought to be important for generating the associated health benefits.
Vegetables and cardiovascular disease
When we cook and eat cruciferous vegetables, the glucosinolates contained within them break down into biologically active compounds, such as nitriles, indoles, isothiocyanates, and thiocyanates.
Evidence from both cell and animal studies suggests thatTrusted Source certain indoles and isothiocyanates may reduce the risk of cancer. That being said, evidence from human studies is less conclusive.
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