Eating high amounts of Antioxidants helped lower Heart Attack Risk for Women

credit: National Cancer Institute Bill Branson (photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - A new study found that women who ate a diet rich in antioxidants had a significantly reduced risk for having a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction. Swedish researchers published their findings in the October issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

Lead investigator, Alicja Wolk, DrMedSci, Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, explained that their study was the first to investigate how dietary antioxidants are related to myocardial infarction risk.

The researchers looked at data collected on 32,561 Swedish women who were between 49 to 83 years old and were followed between September 1997 and December 2007. The women in the study were asked about their dietary habit and how much, and what kind of food and beverages they consumed over the last year. Based on the questionnaire filled out by the women, the researchers used this to estimate the antioxidants they consumed. They used the oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) information to determine the typical antioxidant levels found in the food.

The researchers divided the women into five groups based on their dietary antioxidant levels. They then compared this against the women who had suffered a heart attack. One thousand, one hundred and fourteen women had a myocardial infarction (heart attack) during the study.

The women who had the highest amount of antioxidants in their diet had a 20 percent lower risk for a heart attack. These women ate seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The women with the least amount of antioxidants averaged around 2.4 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

Dr. Wolk explained that other trials found that taking antioxidant supplements did not show any benefit for preventing heart disease. In one study, there was actually a higher death rate. “In contrast to supplements of single antioxidants, the dietary total antioxidant capacity reflects all present antioxidants, including thousands of compounds, all of them in doses present in our usual diet, and even takes into account their synergistic effects,” Wolk explained.

Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH, Managing Editor of The American Journal of Medicine said that only 14 percent of adults and 9.5 percent of adolescents in America eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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