A diet rich in antioxidants can help protect you from a stroke, regardless of whether or not you or your family have a history of heart disease. A study on Swedish women found that a diet high in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) led to less heart health incidence over 11 years.
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 on the heart by tackling the free radicals. Antioxidants, especially flavonoids, may also help risk the risk of reduce blood clotting, blood pressure and inflammation, all risk factors for a heart attack.
The results are reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity,” said Susanne Rautiainen, M.Sc., the study's first author and Ph.D. student at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.