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.”