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Leafy Greens Lower Risk for Heart Disease in Adolescents

Children and adolescents with low intakes of phylloquinone, a form of vitamin K, may be at risk for enlarged heart valves, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers followed diet records for 766 participants aged 14-18 and monitored vascular structure and functionality. When compared to those with the highest intake of vitamin K from foods such as spinach, cabbage, and other leafy green vegetables, those with the lowest intake were more likely to experience vascular enlargement. This type of enlargement, normally observed in adults, typically results in elevated blood pressure and other cardiac complications. The authors suggest these findings may develop treatment and prevention initiatives aimed at improving cardiovascular function in children and adolescents.

Douthit MK, Fain ME, Nguyen JT, et al. Phylloquinone intake is associated with cardiac structure and function in adolescents. J Nutr. 2017;147:1960-1967.