News, Culture & Society

Vitamin K in kale and broccoli keeps hearts healthy

Eat your greens for a healthy heart, new research suggests.

Vitamin K, which is found in kale, spinach and broccoli, maintains the size of the vital organ’s left ventricle, a study found, which is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood around the body.

Insufficient levels of the vitamin cause the left ventricle to enlarge, the research adds. Previous research reveals large hearts do not pump blood as efficiently as they should, which can result in fatal heart attacks.

The more vitamin K a person has, the less likely they are to develop an enlarged heart, the study found.  

Past research suggests vitamin K may activate a protein involved in maintaining heart size.

Vitamin K, found in spinach, maintains the size of the heart’s left ventricle, research reveals


Even healthy people raise their risk of heart disease if they eat too much sugar, research revealed earlier this month.

Just 12 weeks of a high-sugar diet increases the amount of fat stored in the liver, a study found.

Previous research suggests fatty livers release substances that damage arteries and increase blood clotting, putting people at risk of suffering a heart disease or stroke.

A sugary diet also causes people’s fat metabolism to be similar to that of a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease sufferer, the new research adds, with such individuals being at an increased risk of heart attacks.

Study author Professor Bruce Griffin from the University of Surrey, said: ‘Our findings provide new evidence that consuming high amounts of sugar can alter your fat metabolism in ways that could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.’ 

How the study was carried out 

Researchers from Augusta University analyzed 766 healthy teenagers aged between 14 and 18. 

The study’s participant’s diet and activity levels were measured over seven days via self-reporting and devices that assess acceleration.  

Their heart’s structure and function was investigated via ultrasound scans. 

Insufficient vitamin K increases the heart’s size 

Results reveal consuming insufficient amounts of vitamin K substantially increases the size of an individual’s left ventricle. The left ventricle is the thickest of the four heart chambers and is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood around the body. 

The more vitamin K a person has, the less likely they are to develop thick muscle in their left ventricle. 

Previous research reveals enlarged hearts are less able to pump blood around the body, which can result in fatal heart attacks.

Past studies also suggest vitamin K activates a substance, known as the matrix Gla protein, involved in maintaining heart size.

According to the current trial’s researchers, their findings ‘clarify the importance of [vitamin K] intake to cardiovascular development’.

They add the results could ‘lead to [vitamin K] interventions in childhood aimed to improve cardiovascular development and to reduce the subsequent risk of [cardiovascular disease].’

The findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition.