(HealthDay News) — Eating lots of cruciferous vegetables — such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower — could lower your risk of developing heart disease, Australian researchers say.

Study results published in the Journal of the American Heart Association explored whether there was a link between the thickness of the neck arteries, the severity of plaque buildup, and veggie consumption.

The study concluded that older women who ate more cruciferous vegetables had healthier carotid arteries.

The exact reasons for the link — including why cruciferous veggies seemed to have a more protective effect — aren’t known, the researchers said.

The study focused on older Australian women because the scientists said heart disease is often thought of as a “male” disease. Additional research hopes to establish whether the study results extend to men, as well.