Posted on Jan 10, 2011, 6 a.m.
Italian researchers report that a diet rich in antioxidant foods may protect against ischemic stroke.
Previous studies have shown that diets rich in antioxidant foods, namely fruits, vegetables, coffee, chocolate, red wine, whole grain cereals, and nuts, help to reduce the body’s inflammatory response. Nicoletta Pellegrini, from the University of Parma (Italy), and colleagues assessed the risks of stroke among 41,620 Italian men and women, none of whom had suffered a stroke or myocardial infarction at the time the study started. The team assessed dietary intake, noting that in the study group, more than half of the total antioxidants consumed came from coffee, wine, and fruit. The team also monitored for incidence of stroke, for a follow-up period of nearly 8 years. After adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found that those individuals eating a diet in the highest tertile of total antioxidant capacity had a reduced risk of ischemic stroke. Specifically, the participants consuming the highest amounts of vitamin C had a reduced risk of ischemic stroke. Positing that polyphenols, the type of antioxidants found in plant foods, promote vasodilation and expression of genes that may be protective for the vascular system, the team concludes that: “Our findings suggest that antioxidants may play a role in reducing the risk of cerebral infarction.”
Daniele Del Rio, Claudia Agnoli, Nicoletta Pellegrini, Vittorio Krogh, Furio Brighenti, Teresa Mazzeo, Giovanna Masala, Benedetta Bendinelli, Franco Berrino, Sabina Sieri, Rosario Tumino, Patrizia Concetta Rollo, Valentina Gallo, Carlotta Sacerdote, Amalia Mattiello, Paolo Chiodini, Salvatore Panico. “Total Antioxidant Capacity of the Diet Is Associated with Lower Risk of Ischemic Stroke in a Large Italian Cohort.” J. Nutr., January 2011, 141: 1 118-123; doi:10.3945/jn.110.125120.