LONDON: Nitrates, a chemical found in vegetables like spinach and lettuce, may be responsible for keeping blood vessels healthy, says a new study.

Scientists at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences examined the effects of short-term nitrate supplementation in a group of 17 healthy, non-smoking adults. Each participant rotated between taking a daily dose of nitrate supplement equivalent to the amount normally found in 150 to 250 gm of a nitrate-rich vegetable — such as spinach, lettuce, or beetroot — for three days, and taking a placebo for three days. The results showed that average diastolic blood pressure was lower after three days of nitrate supplementation than it was after taking the placebo for three days.

The researchers claimed to have found nitrates in vegetables like spinach and lettuce, which they say may be Mother Nature’s way of keeping blood pressure in check.