A diet rich antioxidant-rich foods, especially from fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce the risk of heart attack in women by inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammation, according to a new study in Stroke, the journal of the American heart Association.
This particular study was the first to focus on the effects of all dietary antioxidants and their connection to heart attacks. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) calculates all antioxidants present in diet and the synergistic effects that take place between them, into one single value.
The study included women (31 035 cardiovascular disease (CVD)-free and 5680 with CVD history at baseline), between the ages of 49 and 83 over a 10 year period.
Diet was assessed with a food frequency questionnaire.
Researchers calculated an approximation of total antioxidant capacity from a database that measures the oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) of the most common foods in the United States. Stroke cases were ascertained by linkage with the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry.
Throughout the study, 1,114 women suffered a heart attack. Women with the highest total antioxidant rate had a 20 percent lower risk than the women who had the least total antioxidant rate. The group with the lowest risk – consumed three times as many fruits and vegetables, about 7 servings per day, compared with the others who had only 2-4 servings.
Lead investigator Alicja Wolk, DrMedSci, Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, explains:
"In contrast to supplements of single antioxidants, the dietary total antioxidant capacity reflects all present antioxidants, including thousands of compounds, all of them in doses present in our usual diet, and even takes into account their synergistic effects."
Rautiainen S, Larsson S, Virtamo J, Wolk A. Total Antioxidant Capacity of Diet and Risk of Stroke: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort of Women. Stroke. 2012;43:00-00.
You can read the complete paper HERE.