Cardioprotective effects of vegetables: is nitrate the answer?

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.
Nitric Oxide (Impact Factor: 3.18). 01/2007; 15(4):359-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.niox.2006.01.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease, but the mechanisms behind this protection are not completely understood. Recent epidemiological studies suggest a cardioprotective action afforded specifically by green leafy vegetables. We here propose that these beneficial effects are related to the high content of inorganic nitrate, which in concert with symbiotic bacteria in the oral cavity is converted into nitrite, nitric oxide, and secondary reaction products with vasodilating and tissue-protective properties.

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