Diet high in total antioxidants associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction in women

September 21, 2012

Coronary heart disease is a major cause of death in women. A new study has found that a diet rich in antioxidants, mainly from fruits and vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of myocardial infarction. 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 in relation to myocardial infarction," says lead investigator Alicja Wolk, DrMedSci, Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute of , Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. "Total measures in a single value all antioxidants present in diet and the synergistic effects between them."

The study followed 32,561 Swedish women aged 49-83 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. The investigators 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 . Women in the group with the highest total antioxidant capacity had a 20% lower risk, and they consumed almost 7 servings per day of fruit and vegetables, which was nearly 3 times more than the women with the least antioxidant capacity, who on average consumed 2.4 servings.

Dr. Wolk notes that trials testing high doses of antioxidant supplements have failed to see any benefit on and, in fact, in one study higher all-cause mortality was reported. "In contrast to supplements of single antioxidants, the dietary total antioxidant capacity reflects all present antioxidants, including thousands of compounds, all of them in doses present in our usual diet, and even takes into account their synergistic effects," she explains.

In a commentary accompanying the article, Pamela Powers Hannley, MPH, Managing Editor of The , observes that with the industrialization of our food supply, Americans began to consume more total calories and more calories from processed food high in fat and sugar. As a result, obesity rates began to climb steadily. "Although weight-loss diets abound in the US, the few which emphasize increasing intake of actually may be on the right track," she says. "Yet only 14% of American adults and 9.5% of adolescents eat five or more servings of fruits or vegetables a day."

Explore further: Vegetables, fruits, grains reduce stroke risk in women

More information: "Total Antioxidant Capacity from Diet and Risk of Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort of Women," by S. Rautiainen, E.B. Levitan, N.Orsini, A. Åkesson, R. Morgenstern, M.A. Mittleman, A. Wolk. (doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.03.008). It appears in The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 125, Issue 10 (October 2012)

Related Stories

Vegetables, fruits, grains reduce stroke risk in women

December 1, 2011
Swedish women who ate an antioxidant-rich diet had fewer strokes regardless of whether they had a previous history of cardiovascular disease, in a study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Diet high in vegetables and fruit associated with less weight gain in African-American women

May 20, 2011
Investigators from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University have reported that African American women who consumed a diet high in vegetables and fruit gained less weight over a 14-year period than those who consumed ...

Diet rich in vegetables may help stave off acute pancreatitis

June 27, 2012
A diet rich in vegetables could help stave off the development of the serious condition acute pancreatitis, suggests a large study published online in the journal Gut.

Recommended for you

New discovery could reverse tissue damage caused by heart attacks

July 25, 2017
A new discovery by University of Bristol scientists helps to explain how cells which surround blood vessels, called pericytes, stimulate new blood vessels to grow with the hormone 'leptin' playing a key role. Leptin is produced ...

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.