Call me a weirdo if you want. I can take it. I’ve been called worse.
But I think some of the most vilified vegetables in the produce aisle… like broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower… are also some of the most delicious.
These cruciferous cuties are in regular rotation at my house. And I’m convinced that most folks who hate them simply haven’t had the good fortune of having them fixed properly.
I believe the right recipe could turn them into almost anyone’s favorites.
But it’s not just taste that’s at stake here. Because cruciferous vegetables are packed with big health benefits for anyone who eats them. But according to researchers, ladies like me may reap even BIGGER rewards.
In fact, broccoli, Brussels, and the rest may turn out to be your blood vessel’s best friends. And don’t worry, guys, it’s likely true for you too.
We’ll get back to that in a bit. But first, let’s take a closer look at the research behind this new revelation.
46% less build up on the aortic artery
The study included diet data gathered from 644 older ladies who first volunteered way back in 1998. In other words, the researchers had plenty of information to plow through.
They started crunching the numbers, and that’s when they saw it.
It stuck out like a sore thumb. The women who were cruciferous veggie fans like me had a SIGNIFICANTLY lower chance of developing dangerous calcium buildup on their aorta.
This is important because that kind of buildup is a key sign doctor’s look for when diagnosing the blood vessel diseases behind countless cases of heart attacks and stroke.
And we’re not talking about a little less buildup here, either. According to the study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the volunteers who ate the most cruciferous vegetables were 46 percent less likely to have significant aortic calcification than those who ate the least.
Which, of course, means they may be far less likely to suffer from a dangerous or deadly heart event.
The K in cruciferous vegetables is key
Regularity is essential when it comes to reaping the heart benefits of these veggies. And don’t worry if you aren’t gaga for cruciferous vegetables. We’re not talking about swallowing buckets of the stuff, either.
According to the head researcher, the ladies in the study ate just a bit more than 45 grams a day. And that translates into a mere quarter cup of steamed broccoli or a half a cup of raw cabbage.
In other words, an amount that even veggie haters can manage to choke down.
Experts believe the vitamin K content in the vegetables may be responsible for the lower levels of calcification. Regular Healthier Talk readers may remember I’ve written about this “pipe cleaner” vitamin before.
Past studies show that vitamin K could help sweep the sludge out of your arteries, preventing the hardening behind heart problems.
And guys, although the new study was focused on the ladies, there’s no reason to believe that you wouldn’t see some of those same heart benefits too. Plus, there are plenty of other health benefits linked to munching on cruciferous vegetables that make them a wise choice, no matter your gender.
For example, in a study published in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers took a closer look at the link between cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli sprouts, and cancer. They found the folks who ate the vegetables at least once a week had a much lower risk of developing certain cancers, including oral, esophageal, pharynx, breast, kidney, and colorectal cancers.
So go ahead and protect your blood vessels and more by eating an extra serving of every day.
Oh, and the key to a tasty cruciferous veggie? Don’t cook them until they’re mush. Instead, season them well, toss them in some delicious olive oil, and lightly roast them in an oven or grill them in a pan.
Just one word of caution. Folks on blood thinners need to be careful about consuming too much vitamin K (proof that the stuff works). So be sure to check with your doc before adding more cruciferous veggies to your menu.