Transcript: Vegetables Rate by Nitrate

“Therefore,” the researchers conclude, “we advocate consumption of a diet high in nitrate (a natural strategy) to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), pre-hypertension, and to protect individuals at risk of adverse vascular events [like heart attacks].” So, if you want to try this at home, either to boost your athletic performance, or protect yourself from cardiovascular disease, which foods are the best sources?

What do you think? Is it beans; bulb vegetables (like garlic and onions); fruiting vegetables (like eggplant, squash, tomatoes), green leafies; mushrooms; root vegetables (like carrots, beets, potatoes); or stem vegetables (like asparagus and celery)?

Well, in milligrams per 100 gram serving: Greens win the day!

Here are the top ten widely available sources. And with all this talk about beet juice, you’d think beets might be #1, but they just barely made the top ten list. Swiss chard has more; next comes oak leaf lettuce; then beet greens; basil; spring greens, like mesclun mix; butter leaf lettuce; cilantro; rhubarb; and arugula (also known as rocket lettuce). Now, beet juice would actually be here, but we always want to choose whole foods to maximize the nutrition. As you can see, there was actually one stem vegetable, and it came in #2, even—rhubarb! But eight out of the top ten are green leafies, with the winner by a large margin being arugula! 18 times more nitrate than kale! I may have a new favorite vegetable.

Ten years ago, a pair of twin Harvard studies found the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk of heart disease. The most powerful protector—green leafy vegetables. And now, perhaps, we know why.To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by MaryAnn Allison.