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A Danish study has found that over time, eating just one cup of leafy greens daily can improve heart health and reduce risk for heart disease by about 15 percent. Researchers drew this conclusion after tracking the diets and health of more than 53,000 people for 23 years. They found that those who ate the most nitrate-rich vegetables were least likely to develop heart disease, have a stroke, or suffer from circulatory problems.
Nitrates in vegetables trigger your internal production of nitric oxide, a gas that dilates blood vessels and helps to keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Although all vegetables contain nitrates, some contain higher levels. Beets, beet juice, and beet powder are rich sources of nitrates that have been found to lower blood pressure, making them a great compliment to leafy greens for heart health.