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Good news if you regularly pile your plate high with broccoli and brussels sprouts: cruciferous vegetables may bring special heart benefits. A study published online July 17 by The British Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate more cruciferous veggies (which also included cauliflower and cabbage in the study) had less calcium buildup in their aortas (the body's largest blood vessel) than people who ate less of these veggies. Fatty deposits in arteries attract calcium and the buildup is known as calcification. Research shows that people with calcified aortas are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. The study authors looked at data from 684 women ages 70 and older, measuring both their intake of cruciferous vegetables and their level of aortic calcification. They found that women who regularly ate more than 44.6 grams (equivalent to about 1/4 cup of cooked chopped broccoli) each day were 46% less likely to have high amounts of calcified fatty deposits in their aortas compared with women who rarely or never ate cruciferous vegetables.
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