THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in antioxidants -- especially from fruits and vegetables -- can reduce the risk of heart attack in women, researchers report.
The new study included more than 32,500 Swedish women, aged 49 to 83, who filled out a questionnaire about their eating habits. During 10 years of follow up, more than 1,100 of the women suffered a heart attack.
Women with the highest antioxidant levels had a 20 percent lower risk of heart attack. These women consumed almost seven servings per day of fruits and vegetables, which was nearly three times more than the 2.4 daily servings consumed by those with the lowest antioxidant levels.
The study is published in the October issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
"Our study was the first to look at the effect of all dietary antioxidants in relation to [heart attack]," lead investigator Alicja Wolk, of the nutritional epidemiology division at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said in a journal news release.
There are numerous types of weight-loss diets, but those that emphasize increased consumption of fruits and vegetables may be the most effective, journal managing editor Pamela Powers Hannley wrote in an accompanying commentary.
"Yet only 14 percent of American adults and 9.5 percent of adolescents eat five or more servings of fruits or vegetables a day," she noted.
Although the research found an association between increased consumption of antioxidants and a lowered risk of heart attack, it did not prove the existence of a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about women and heart disease.
SOURCE: The American Journal of Medicine, news release, Sept. 21, 2012
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