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Fruit and veg fight stroke risk
January 29, 2012

A new study has shown that women who consume diets high in antioxidants have fewer strokes than those with less healthy nutritional behaviours.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden used a food frequency questionnaire to collect dietary data from thousands of women between the ages of 49 and 83 years, and then evaluated it to determine study subjects' total antioxidant capacity (TAC).

Lead study author and PhD student at the Karolinska Institutet, Susanne Rautiainen, MSc, said, In this study, we took into account all the antioxidants present in the diet, including thousands of compounds, in doses obtained from a usual diet.

In women who did not have cardiovascular disease, a higher TAC was found to correlate with lower stroke rates, and of those in the non-cardio disease group, those with the highest TAC had a 17% lower risk than those with the lowest TAC.

Among women with a history of cardiovascular disease, those with the highest TAC displayed a 46% to 57% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest TAC.

Eating antioxidant-rich foods may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation. This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity, Rautiainen said.

Women with a high antioxidant intake may be more health conscious and have the sort of healthy behaviours that may have influenced our results. However, the observed inverse association between dietary TAC and stroke persisted after adjustments for potential confounders related to healthy behaviour such as smoking, physical activity and education.

Source: Journal of the American Heart Association

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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