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Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has found that adding one cup of nitrate-rich vegetables like leafy greens to your diet can cut the risk of heart disease.

The study looked at people that ate higher quantities of nitrate-rich vegetables, like leafy greens and beetroot, and if they had lower blood pressure, which led to a reduced risk of heart disease. 50,000 people were evaluated over 23-years.

The study found that those that consumed the most nitrate-rich vegetables had lower blood pressure and between a 12 to 26 percent lower risk of disease. Because heart disease is the number one cause of death around the world, killing 17.9 million annually, it’s crucial to evaluate diets that cut risks.

Lead researcher, Dr. Catherine Bondonno from ECU’s Institute for Nutrition Research, said of the study, “Our results have shown that by simply eating one cup of raw (or half a cup of cooked) nitrate-rich vegetables each day, people may be able to significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. The greatest reduction in risk was for peripheral artery disease (26 percent), a type of heart disease characterised by the narrowing of blood vessels of the legs, however we also found people had a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.”

Dr. Bondonno said that one cup of leafy greens is enough to get the benefits. “People don’t need to be taking supplements to boost their nitrate levels because the study showed that one cup of leafy green vegetables each day is enough to reap the benefits for heart disease. We did not see further benefits in people who ate higher levels of nitrate rich vegetables.”

Eating dark leafy greens can be super delicious if you have the right recipes. For some nutritious, nitrate filled meal ideas try this Spinach Salad With Barley Bacon, Arugula Lemon Portobello Pitas, Swiss Chard Quiche with Wild Mushrooms, Buffalo Chickpea Caesar Salad, Herb and Garlic Massaged Kale Salad, Kale, Beet, and Pecan Salad, or these Harissa Tahini Romaine Wraps and Salad.

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based or even giving one of these vitamin-rich citrus meals a try, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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