Cruciferous veggies have a lion’s share of health benefits (see ‘em all here!), including blood vessel health. “Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula, those are actually treat the lining of the blood vessels really well,” Li says.
Spinach receives honorable mention, here: When you eat the leafy greens, they release nitric oxide, which can help improve blood flow, relax blood vessels, and reduce blood pressure (read: all great things for vascular health). That said, make sure you chew your spinach completely—that’s what releases the healthy compound.
“When you chew your spinach, you are allowing the gut bacteria in your tongue and in your mouth change the nitrates that are in your spinach,” says Li. “You swallow those, and then it turns it into a chemical form that dilates your blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and makes your blood vessels healthier.”