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Lower Risk of Stroke in Women who Follow Diets High in Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains

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According to researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, females who consume lots of fruit, vegetables, and grains in their diet reduce their risk of stroke. This is true for women who have a history of cardiovascular disease as well.

It is believed that these foods which are rich in antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress takes place when the body is unable to neutralize free radicals which damage cells and blood vessels. People are at risk for blood clots and stroke due to the resulting inflammation and stiffening of cells and blood vessels.

The researchers used a food-frequency questionnaire to obtain data regarding the participants in their study. They examined data from women in two counties from 49 to 83 years of age. 31,035 women were identified as being free from cardiovascular disease, and 5,680 women presented with a history of cardiovascular disease. The researchers noted 1,322 cases of stroke among the women who identified as being free from cardiovascular disease, and 1,007 cases of stroke in the women with a cardiovascular disease history.

The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the participants was determined, according to the women’s eating habits. The researchers then categorized the results into 9 groups in total; 5 groups among those with no history of cardiovascular disease, and 4 groups among those with a cardiovascular disease history.

The researchers determined that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (50 percent) as well as whole grains (18 percent), tea (16 percent), and chocolate (5 percent) contributed to the total antioxidant capacity in the diets of the women who had the highest TAC and no cardiovascular disease history. Among those in the 5 groups (no cardiovascular disease history) the women with the highest TAC reduced their chance of having a stroke by 17 percent.

The risk of stroke was also reduced in women from the 4 groups with a cardiovascular disease history. Those with the highest TAC in their diet lessened their risk of stroke by approximately 46 to 57 percent.

Source: Medical News Today