London: Women eating an antioxidant-rich diet suffered fewer strokes independently of whether they had past history of cardiovascular disease or not, a new study reveals.
"Eating antioxidant-rich foods may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation," said doctoral student Susanne Rautiainen at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, who led the study.
"This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity," she added.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body`s ability to neutralize them. It leads to inflammation, blood vessel damage and stiffening, the Journal of the American Heart Association:Stroke reported.
Researchers categorized the women according to their total antioxidant capacity (TAC) levels -- five groups without a history of cardiovascular disease and four with previous cardiovascular disease, according to a university statement.
TAC measures the free radical reducing capacity of all antioxidants in the diet and considers mutually beneficial effects among these substances.
For women with no history of cardiovascular disease and highest TAC, fruits and vegetables contributed about 50 percent. Other contributors were whole grains (18 percent), tea (16 percent) and chocolate (five percent).
Higher TAC was related to lower stroke rates in women without cardiovascular disease.
Women without cardio disease with the highest levels of dietary TAC had a statistically significant 17 percent lower risk of total stroke compared to those in the lowest quintile.