There are amazing healthy benefits to eating leafy green vegetables. Here’s one more reason from the News Target Citizen Journalism Report.
Instead of bulging biceps, maybe Popeye should be shown with smooth, unblemished calves. Here’s why: A recent study published in the Journal of Vascular Research has found that the protein MPG that causes the prevention of varicose veins is activated in the presence of adequate vitamin-K.
Spinach is one of the highest sources of dietary vitamin K, containing 380 micrograms of Vitamin K per 100 grams, about 1 cups worth.
Although not as familiar to the public as vitamins A, the B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E, vitamin K research has been conducted since the late 1920’s. Vitamin K, (the ‘K’ stands for the German word ‘Koagulation’), is important for clotting the blood, bone health, preventing hardening of the arteries and now, it would seem, prevention of varicose veins.
Vitamin K exists in 2 major forms, K1 and K2. K1 can be derived from dietary sources of plant foods, such as spinach. K2 is produced in the intestines by bacteria. In case you aren’t too fond of spinach, other sources of Vitamin K are: broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, kale, avocado and kiwis. A particularly high source of the K2 form of the vitamin is fermented foods such as cheese and the fermented soy product, natto.
Even though it is estimated that 5%-30% of the population has varicose veins, most of which are women, scientists still aren’t completely sure about what causes them. However it IS known that the matrix GlA protein (MPG) plays an important role in their formation.
Co-author of the study Leon Schurgers from the University of Maastricht explained “Defects in the vein wall are indicated in varicosis, with a central role for the vitamin-K dependent protein MGP”. He further stated “MGP is important in relation to the health of the entire cardiovascular system. Previous studies from our group demonstrated the importance of MGP and vitamin K for the arterial vessel wall, and now we show that MGP and vitamin K could play a significant role in varicose veins.”
More reason than ever to eat your spinach.
Source: Journal of Vascular Research 2007, Volume 44, Pages 444-459, doi: 10.1159/000106189 “Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes in Human Varicose Veins: Involvement of Matrix Gla Protein in Extracellular Matrix Remodeling” Authors: C. Cario-Toumaniantz, C. Boularan, L.J. Schurgers, M.-F. Heymann, M. Le Cunff, J. Léger, G. Loirand, P. Pacaud
About the author
Roni Ellison is a ‘whole foods’ lover and tries to eat a couple of servings of greens a day.
NewsTarget.com 9/10/07 1:00 AM