Leafy Greens, Vitamin K Improve Heart Health
Most of us know that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables is good for us. But when it comes to leafy greens – kale, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and others – a new study suggests these powerhouse plants may have even more health benefits than previously realized.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Georgia Prevention Institute at Augusta University and published in The Journal of Nutrition, examines the link between vitamin K and heart function and structure. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting and bone health and is abundant in leafy greens. The research suggests low levels of vitamin K can affect heart structure and contribute to a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy, which lessens the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.
For the study, researchers assessed diet and physical activity levels, and used echocardiography to evaluate left ventricular function and structure in 766 healthy young people between 14 and 18 over a week. Study participants with the highest intake of vitamin K had lower rates of left ventricular hypertrophy than those whose diet contained less of the vitamin.