Diet high in antioxidants shown to cut stroke risk in women

Vegetables arranged into the shape of a heartWomen who eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains can cut their risk of having a stroke by 17 per cent, according to new research.

The National Stroke Association study, published in Stroke, reveals that a diet high in antioxidants can also lower the risk for women with a history of heart disease and stroke by 17 per cent.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden surveyed 31,035 without heart disease and 5,680 with a history of heart disease and measured the amount of antioxidant-rich food and drink they consumed.

More than 11 years later, 1,322 women in the first group had suffered a stroke, and 1,007 in the second group.

The results show that women who eat diets loaded with antioxidants can cut their chances of having a stroke by 17 per cent – even if they have a history of cardiovascular trouble – compared to women who ate the least amount of antioxidant-rich foods.

For women in the high-risk category, a diet high in fruit and veg also cut the risk of haemorrhagic stroke – where ruptured blood vessels in the brain cause bleeding – by 45 per cent.

Antioxidants soak up harmful free radical molecules in blood that have been linked to many health problems including heart disease and stroke.

“Eating antioxidant-rich foods may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation,” says the report’s first author, Susanne Rautiainen. “This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity.”

Read the report

Posted on Categories: