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Antioxidant-Rich Diet Lowers Women's Heart Attack Risk

STOCKHOLM—Women who consume a diet rich in antioxidants, mainly from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, may significantly reduce their risk of myocardial infarction, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Medicine.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute examined how total antioxidant capacity of diet and antioxidant-containing foods were associated with incident myocardial infarction among middle-aged and elderly women. The examined data from 32,561 Swedish women aged 49 to 83 who participated in the Swedish Mammography Cohort study from September 1997 through December 2007. The women completed a food-frequency questionnaire in which they were asked how often, on average, they consumed each type of food or beverage during the last year.

Researchers calculated estimates of total antioxidant capacity from a database that measures the oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) of the most common foods in the United States (no equivalent database of Swedish foods exists). The women were categorized into five groups of total antioxidant capacity of diet.

During the study, 1,114 women suffered a myocardial infarction. Women in the group with the highest total antioxidant capacity had a 20% lower risk, and they consumed almost seven servings per day of fruit and vegetables, which was nearly three times more than the women with the least antioxidant capacity, who on average consumed 2.4 servings.

The researchers concluded data suggest that dietary total antioxidant capacity, based on fruits, vegetables, coffee, and whole grains, is of importance in the prevention of myocardial infarction.

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