New findings from the American Heart Association shows women can reduce the chances of having a stroke by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Fruits, grains and vegetables are a powerful way to lower inflammation and reduce oxidative stress in the body that damages blood vessels.
A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains and fruits, which have high total antioxidant capacity (TAC) helps the body neutralize free-radicals that damage blood vessels, and even worked for women with a history of previous heart disease, based on the study.
According to the findings, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, women who already had heart disease, but ate a diet with high total antioxidant capacity (TAC), had a 57 percent reduction in the chances of stroke from hemorrhage, compared to 47 percent lower risk for women who ate a diet with fewer antioxidants.
A high antioxidant diet was also associated with lower risk of stroke in women without heart disease; cutting the chances by 17 percent.
Susanne Rautiainen, M.Sc., the study's first author and Ph.D. student at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said, “This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity."
The finding comes from a study of women who were part of the Swedish Mammography Cohort: 31,035 heart disease-free women and 5,680 women with a history of heart disease in two counties were included.
During the follow-up period of 9.6 years for women with heart disease and 11.5 years for those without heart problems, 1,322 strokes were found in heart disease-free women and 1,007 strokes occurred in women with a history of cardiovascular disease.
Though the women studied were from Sweden, the authors believe the finding would apply to other countries. They also want to pursue their research to see if the same stroke risk reduction applies to men who eat a TAC diet.
The researchers believe the study is the first to show that eating an antioxidant rich diet that comes from a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables and whole grains can reduce the chances of stroke in women; even those with a previous history of cardiovascular disease.
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