A new Swedish study is unique in that instead of measuring the antioxidant value of Vitamin A or C or polyphenols in the diet, it represents the cumulative effect of “thousands of compounds in doses obtained from a usual diet.”
Notice that last word—these compounds weren’t ingested in pill form; they were ingested from the real thing—food.
Alicia Wolk, DrMedSci, of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and her colleagues studied data of 36,715 women collected in the Swedish Mammography Cohort study. Over an 11-year follow-up, those initially free of cardiovascular disease and consuming the most antioxidants were 17% less likely to have a stroke.
Among the 5,680 participants already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, those in that group consuming the most antioxidants were 46-57% less likely to have a stroke.
Participants’ diets were assessed at the start of the study using a food-frequency questionnaire. Researchers calculated antioxidant intake based on each food’s “oxygen radical absorbance capacity” (ORAC).
Participants with the highest antioxidant consumption ate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dark chocolate twice as often and drank 17 times more tea than those with the lowest intake.
Despite sweeping health claims for products promising antioxidant benefits, your best bet for stroke prevention is consuming an overall healthy diet–along with staying active, watching your weight and avoiding tobacco.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, June 17, 2013