Most of us know that vitamin K is important for maintaining cardiovascular health—but now researchers have discovered why. People who don't eat their greens and vegetables, which are rich in the vitamin, change the physical structure of their heart.
The vitamin is best known as a blood thinner and for preventing clotting, but the new study has discovered that people who don't eat any greens are more than three times more likely to suffer from an unhealthy enlargement of the heart's major pumping chamber, known as left ventricular hypertrophy.
There's a direct correlation between the amount of vitamin K, and especially K1 (phylloquinone), in our diets and the heart's structure. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia studied the diet and heart health of 766 seemingly-healthy adolescents aged between 14 and 18, and discovered that those eating the least amount of vitamin K1 were 3.3. times more likely to have an enlarged heart. "Those who consumed less had more risk," said lead researcher Dr Norman Pollock.
Despite their young age, around 10 per cent of the participants were already showing signs of an enlarged heart, a problem that will make the heart less efficient.
Vitamin K1 is found in green vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli and kale, and in iceberg lettuce and olive oil.