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Broccoli, Et Al, Protect Women Against Arterial Plaque

We’ve reported a couple of times recently on the benefits of Broccoli and other Cruciferous Veggies for your general health. Now, there’s another study out that says relatively modest ‘doses’ of Broccoli, etal, can massively reduce the buildup of calcium in the arteries of older women…

Thai Beef with Broccoli - © food52.comThai Broccoli Stir Fry: Just one way to get your daily 45 g / 2 oz. of Broccoli daily…

What they did

Researchers at Edith Cowan University in Australia wanted to see if they could figure out why subjects in an earlier experiment showed a markedly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than their control group fellows.

What they found

Further data mining of the results of a survey of 684 ‘older women’ that began in 1998 and was followed up many time over the ensuing years, showed a marked difference between those participants who regularly consumed Cruciferous Veggies and those who didn’t.

In fact, women who consumed as little as 45g  of Cruciferous Vegetables every day (e.g. ¼ cup of steamed Broccoli or ½ cup of raw Cabbage) were 46 percent less likely to have extensive build-up of calcium on the interior surfaces of their aortas in comparison to those consuming little to no Cruciferous Vegetables every day.

“That’s not to say the only vegetables we should be eating are broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. We should be eating a wide variety of vegetables every day for overall good health and wellbeing,” Study Lead Researcher Dr. Lauren Blekkenhorst said.

The takeaway

Australian Heart Foundation Manager, Food and Nutrition, Beth Meertens said, “This study provides valuable insights into how this group of Vegetables might contribute to the health of our arteries and ultimately our heart. […] Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia and poor diet is responsible for the largest proportion of the burden of heart disease, accounting for 65.5 percent of the total burden of heart disease.”

Meertens also notes that Australians are already at a significant disadvantage compared to those in other countries, according to crrent statistivs, when it comes to healthy eating: “The Heart Foundation recommends that Australians try to include at least five serves of vegetables in their daily diets, along with fruit, seafood, lean meats, dairy and healthy oils found in nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, over 90 percent of Australian adults don’t eat this recommended daily intake of vegetables.”

My take

Almost as an afterthought, Blekkenhorst says she and her team aren’t yet sure why Cruciferous Veggies have such a significant beneficial effect on arterial plaque accumulation, but she and lots of other researchers would like to know more. (Like, for instance, how Cruciferous Veggies effect the arteries of older men!)

“One particular constituent found abundantly in cruciferous vegetables is vitamin K which may be involved in inhibiting the calcification process that occurs in our blood vessels,” she speculates. Well, I say, “Get on with the further research that’s called for in  this case.

And check out other beneficial effects offered by Broccoli, et al

~ Maggie J.