Leafy green vegetables might be the key to avoiding nasty blood clots, heart attacks and strokes according to a recent British study. The Cambridge University research, funded by the British Heart foundation, has found nitrate contained in leafy greens, such as spinach, lettuce and celery, has been shown to widen blood vessels, while also turning white fat cells into brown calorie-burning fat cells that may combat Type 2 diabetes.

Salad-Bowl-Place-mat-and-Serving-TongsAccording to the study, nitrate from the leafy greens can help regulate the delivery of oxygen to cells and tissues. Study Author Dr Andrew Murray said this ensured cells and tissues in the body had enough oxygen to function without needing to over produce red blood cells, which could make the blood too thick and compromise health.

The study has been welcomed by AUSVEG, the leading horticultural body for Australia’s 9,000 veg growers: “The industry is delighted by these findings which further confirm the benefits of a vegetable-rich diet, and we hope to see consumers taking advantage of this knowledge when planning future meals,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Tamara Ungar.