A scary percentage of us are at risk of stroke. There are things we can do to not be part of that statistic. Day after day we see more evidence of the countless benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, and having good nutrition. A diet rich in life Fruits and Vegetables and Alkaline Foods allows our body to fight disease and stay healthy. There are thousands of articles on the Internet talking about the benefits of balancing the pH in your body, and eating more foods that come from nature, and less foods that come from a box or a can. Ideally, 65 of 70% of everything we eat should be live food, meaning raw fruits, vegetables and grains. And the main reason for this is the provide us with much needed antioxidants. You see, our body needs live enzymes and antioxidants to function properly, and a diet rich in these nutrients is a key factor in preventing some, if not all, of the diseases responsible for most deaths now a days.
Stockholm, Sweden - Women who eat an antioxidant-rich diet may significantly cut their stroke risk, particularly for those without a history of CVD, new research suggests.
The prospective study found that women with no history of CVD who consumed the highest amount of antioxidants in foods such as fruit, vegetables, tea, whole grains, and chocolate had 17% fewer strokes than those who ate the least amount. Among women with a history of CVD, those who consumed the most antioxidants had 45% fewer hemorrhagic strokes.
“This study suggests that eating a diet rich in antioxidants, especially from fruits and vegetables, may be of importance for stroke prevention,” the study’s lead author, Susanne Rautiainen (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden), said in an interview.
The study is published online December 1, 2011 in Stroke.
Researchers used the Swedish Mammography Cohort, a database that includes women born from 1914 to 1948 in the counties of Uppsala and Västmanland, Sweden. The cohort included 36 715 women who were followed from September 15, 1997 to December 31, 2009. A 1997 questionnaire on diet, education, weight, height, and potential risk factors for stroke served as a baseline for the analysis.
Investigators calculated the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in the diet using a database of the most common foods. “The TAC does not identify specific antioxidants but rather measures the entire antioxidant network, including all present antioxidants, and takes into account the synergistic effects between compounds,” explained Rautiainen.
The researchers analyzed the 31 035 women who were free of CVD at baseline separately from the 5680 women with a history of CVD. Members of the CVD-free cohort were categorized into quintiles—and those with a CVD history into quartiles—of dietary TAC.
From the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry, researchers identified 1322 strokes among CVD-free women and 1007 strokes among those with a history of CVD. Risk was adjusted for age, education, smoking, body-mass index, physical activity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, family history of MI, aspirin use, dietary supplement use, and intakes of total energy, alcohol, and coffee.
The researchers report that among the CVD-free women, those in the highest quintile of dietary TAC had a statistically significant 17% lower risk of total stroke compared with women in the lowest quintile (hazard ratio 0.83, 95% CI 0.70-0.99; p=0.04).
Dietary TAC was inversely associated with both cerebral infarction and hemorrhagic stroke, although these results were not statistically significant.
Fruits and vegetables contributed about 50% of TAC. Other contributors included whole grains (18%), tea (16%), and chocolate (5%).
In the CVD subgroup, women in the highest quartile of dietary TAC had a significant 45% lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke compared with those in the lowest quartile (adjusted hazard ratio 0.55; 95% CI 0.32-0.95; p=0.03]). However, there was no association with total stroke.
In this subgroup, women in the lowest TAC quartile might have been more likely to have a history of stroke and therefore be more likely to suffer a hemorrhagic stroke, although the inverse association remained after adjustment for history of stroke, said Rautiainen.
“Women with a CVD history may control their blood pressure or change their lifestyles because of knowledge of their disease,” she speculated. “This might have produced a spurious inverse association between TAC of diet and risk of hemorrhagic stroke.”
The findings of this study seem to conflict with those of previous research that failed to show beneficial effects of antioxidant supplements on stroke risk. “The contradiction may be explained by the fact these studies looked at high doses of single antioxidants, whereas we aimed to examine antioxidant intake by taking into account all antioxidants present in the diet, including thousands of compounds, in doses obtained from a usual diet,” said Rautiainen.
Oxidative stress may be at the root of some strokes, as the body may be unable to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals, which can lead to inflammation and vascular damage, said Rautiainen.
How might antioxidant-rich foods reduce this stroke risk? According to Rautiainen, vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other such compounds scavenge free radicals, thereby inhibiting oxidative stress. “Antioxidants, especially flavonoids, may also help improve endothelial function and reduce blood clotting, blood pressure, and inflammation,” she said.
The next step for the research team is to see if TAC intake is associated with cardiovascular diseases other than stroke, she concluded.
Approached to comment, Dr Louise D McCullough (University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington) said the study’s overall strengths were its size and the fact that the cohort was followed for such a long period of time. “This is by far the biggest and most complete trial that’s been done,” she said.
The results confirm what has been long suspected. “People have known from retrospective trials and correlative studies that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, etc, reduce stroke risk,” said McCullough. “This confirms it in a prospective trial.”
She pointed out that eating a healthy, antioxidant rich diet is associated other healthy behaviors. “People who tend to eat healthier tend to also have healthier lifestyles as a whole, but even controlling for that, in this large population it does seem that the diet had an independent beneficial effect on stroke incidence.”
McCullough noted that the reduced risk among healthy women “wasn’t a huge change in risk” in terms of absolute numbers, but she emphasized that reducing stroke risk by incorporating more antioxidant-rich foods in the diet is relatively easy to do.”
If we were to name the “Golden Egg Hen” in terms of our health, that would be nature. It makes sense to rethink our diet, and make our nutrition as plant based as possible. It is the easiest and most effective way of preventing disease. The epidemic of chronic, degenerative disease that we are living in today’s wold can be stopped through prevention. Our dietary and lifestyle choices have the ability of either make us sick or maintain us feeling and looking young and healthy. Living what we call an Alkaline Lifestyle, and eating a diet that comes from nature, rich in live alkaline foods may radically change your health today and in the future, and prevent you from getting sick and dying early. Even people who are already sick, or who may have even been told that there was nothing else to do, have been able to reverse disease and improve their quality of life and their health by changing their diet and lifestyle. Take control of your health today!!
Feel free to contact us if you want some more suggestions on how to improve your diet, and increase you intake of fruits and vegetables.