High Antioxidant Diet Associated With Fewer Strokes

High antioxidant diet associated with fewer strokes

High antioxidant diet associated with fewer strokes

Tuesday, December 6, 2011. In an article published online on December 1, 2011 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet report that consuming a diet that is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and the carotenoids is associated with a lower risk of stroke in women.

Susanne Rautiainen, MSc and her associates evaluated data from 5,680 women with a history of heart disease and 31,035 with no history of the disease who participated in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Food frequency questionnaires were analyzed for total antioxidant capacity (TAC), which is a measure of the free radical reducing capacity of all dietary antioxidants, including their synergistic effects. The cardiovascular disease-free subjects were followed for 11 years and those with a disease history for 9.6 years, during which 1,322 strokes occurred among those without the disease, and 1,007 strokes occurred in the disease history group.

Fruit, vegetables, whole grains and tea were strong contributors to TAC levels. For women with no history of cardiovascular disease whose diets had a total antioxidant capacity that was among the top one-fifth of participants there was a 17 percent lower adjusted risk of stroke in comparison with those whose TAC was among the lowest fifth. Although having a dietary TAC level that was among the highest one-fourth of those with a history of the disease resulted in an insignificant 10 percent lower adjusted risk of total stroke, women in this group experienced 46 percent lower adjusted risk of hemorrhagic stroke compared to those whose TAC was lowest.

"Eating antioxidant-rich foods may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation," explained Rautiainen, who is a doctoral student at the Karolinska Institutet. "This means people should eat more foods such as fruits and vegetables that contribute to total antioxidant capacity."

"In this study, we took into account all the antioxidants present in the diet, including thousands of compounds, in doses obtained from a usual diet," she added. "Women with a high antioxidant intake may be more health conscious and have the sort of healthy behaviors that may have influenced our results. However, the observed inverse association between dietary TAC and stroke persisted after adjustments for potential confounders related to healthy behavior such as smoking, physical activity and education."

"To the best of our knowledge, no study has assessed the relation between dietary TAC and stroke risk in participants with a previous history of cardiovascular disease," she announced. "Further studies are needed to assess the link between dietary TAC and stroke risk in men and in people in other countries, but we think our results are applicable."

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Meta-analysis supports protective effect for fiber, whole grains against colorectal cancer risk

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The results of a meta-analysis published online on November 11, 2011 in the British Medical Journal support the decades-old claim that increased intake of dietary fiber could aid in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

Dagfinn Aune and colleagues at Imperial College London along with Ellen Kampman of Wageningen University in the Netherlands selected 21 prospective studies including nearly 2 million participants for their analysis. They observed a modest association between increased fiber intake and a reduction in colorectal cancer risk. For every ten grams per day increase in total fiber and cereal fiber, a 10 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk was observed in comparison with the risk experienced by those whose intake was lowest. Intake of whole grains, which are high in fiber, had a more pronounced effect, with those consuming three servings per day experiencing an average 17 percent lower disease risk. Although no association between fiber from fruit or vegetables was noted, previous research has uncovered a protective benefit for whole fruits and vegetables against colorectal cancer risk.

Mechanisms suggested for fiber's protective effect include increased stool bulk and dilution of carcinogens in the colonic lumen, reduced transit time, and bacterial fermentation of fiber to short chain fatty acids.

"A high intake of dietary fiber, in particular cereal fiber and whole grains, was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer," the authors conclude. They recommend further studies involving subtypes of fiber and analysis of colorectal cancer risk according to its site within the colon.

In an accompanying editorial, Anne Tjønneland and Anja Olsen write that "Although a high intake of whole grain can be recommended, research is still needed to explain the biological mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of these foods in detail, including the effects of different types of grain."

Life Extension Magazine® December, 2011 Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine December, 2011 

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