Fruit, veggie-rich diet reduces stroke risk in women

Eating an antioxidant-rich diet reduces the risk of stroke in women regardless of whether they have a previous history of cardiovascular disease, a new study has claimed.

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.

Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids and flavonoids can inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation by scavenging the free radicals. Antioxidants, especially flavonoids, may also help improve endothelial function and reduce blood clotting, blood pressure and inflammation.

`Eating antioxidant-rich foods may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation,` Susanne Rautiainen, first author of the study, said.

Five fruits and vegetables per day

`This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity,` she said.

For the study, the researchers used the Swedish Mammography Cohort to identify 31,035 heart disease-free women and 5,680 women with a history of heart disease in two counties. The women were 49-83 years old.

How good eating may prevent a stroke

They tracked the cardiovascular disease-free women an average 11.5 years and the women with cardiovascular disease 9.6 years, from September 1997 through the date of first stroke, death or Dec. 31, 2009, whichever came first.

Read more on the study results