Having a hard time making yourself eat kale and Brussels sprouts? This new research may help. It finds that getting your greens may actually help you live longer. That’s because of the vitamin K found in them and while it’s no fountain of youth, it provides enough protective health benefits to help slash your risk of early death.
A meta-analysis of three major studies on more than 4-thousand participants between ages 54 and 76 finds those with the lowest vitamin K levels had a 19% higher risk of death compared to folks who got an adequate amount of the vitamin. Lead study author Kyla Shea says that’s probably because vitamin K is crucial for maintaining healthy blood vessels. She explains that there’s an important protein in vascular tissue that prevents calcium from building up in artery walls and it requires vitamin K to function.
Without vitamin K, this protein doesn’t work as well and that may lead to calcium buildup in coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body, which is linked to early death. Vitamin K has also been associated with better bone health, another reason to add foods rich in it to your diet. So load up on green, leafy vegetables including kale, spinach, romaine, and chard, as well as cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. The fiber, antioxidants and other vitamins will give your bones and heart a boost that may help you stick around longer.