Washington: A diet full of vegetables, fruits and grains can lower stroke risk among women, a new study has claimed. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that among women with no cardiovascular disease history, those who ate diets rich in antioxidants -- which mainly came from fruits and vegetables' had a 17 per cent lower risk of stroke than those with diets low in antioxidants.
And among women who did have a history of cardiovascular disease, those who had diets rich in antioxidants had a 46 per cent to 57 per cent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke, compared with those who had lower antioxidant levels, the researchers found.
The findings suggest why people "should eat more foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that contribute to total antioxidant capacity," study researcher Susanne Rautiainen was quoted as saying by LiveScience.
For their study, published in the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers tracked the health of 36,715 women, ages 49 to 83, for about a decade. At the beginning of the study, 31,035 of the participants were free of heart disease, while 5,680 had a history of heart disease. They filled out questionnaires, and the researchers used the dietary data and a standard database to determine the participants' total antioxidant capacity -- a measure of all antioxidants in their diet.
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotenoids and flavonoids can counter the effects of free radicals, which are molecules that can cause tissue damage. Thus, the antioxidants can help reduce blood pressure, clotting and inflammation in the body, the researchers said.
"Women with a high antioxidant intake may be more health-conscious, and have the sort of healthy behaviours that may have influenced our results," Rautiainen said. However, he added that the findings showed fewer strokes among those with high amounts of antioxidants even after they adjusted for such health-related behaviours as education, smoking and physical activity. (PTI)