Vegetables are the bedrock of a healthy diet. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals essential for health, as well as antioxidants (which protect your cells from damage). An observational study published online April 4, 2018, by the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that eating vegetables is linked to better health of the carotid arteries (in your neck). Researchers looked at ultrasound images of the carotid arteries in about a thousand women (ages 70 or older) and evaluated survey information about what the women ate for a year. Women who said they ate three or more servings of vegetables per day had less thickening of the walls of the carotid arteries, compared with women who said they ate less than two servings per day. Cruciferous veggies — like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower — were associated with the strongest benefit. The carotid arteries supply blood to the brain. Thickened walls of the carotids can be a sign of plaque buildup, which paves the way for stroke.