Women who eat sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are less likely to suffer strokes, research shows.
These vegetables, belonging to the cruciferous or cabbage family, are particularly beneficial to the health of our blood vessels, according to the study of 950 women aged 70 and over. It is thought that the same benefit applies to men.
The study, by researchers from the University of Western Australia, looked at the thickness of carotid arteries, a major blood vessel in the neck.
If it is above a certain thickness, it can restrict blood flow to the brain and increase risk of a stroke. The carotid arteries of women who ate three or more portions of vegetables a day were 0.05mm thinner than those who ate none. Although this effect is tiny, reducing the thickness by just 0.1mm can lower the risk of stroke by up to a fifth.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that cruciferous vegetables were particularly effective. Kale, turnips, sprouts, bok choi and leafy greens are also in this category.
Lead author Dr Lauren Blekkenhorst said: ‘Dietary guidelines should highlight the importance of increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables for protection from vascular disease.’