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Lower Your Stroke Risk with Antioxidants

container of raspberriesLike many others, you are probably worried about your stroke risk. In America, stroke is the third leading cause of death.  You may have heard about antioxidants lowering your risk for stroke. And now you may be thinking, “Will adding more antioxidants to my diet keep me from having a stroke?”

Benefits of Antioxidants

Experts are not 100 percent sure about how antioxidants work, but they do know that they can battle free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that harm cells. They can cause damage to blood vessels by making them harden and swell.

Pack More Antioxidants into Your Diet

Antioxidants have long been associated with health benefits. Types of antioxidants include:

Pack a piece of fruit to snack on at the end of the day. Try:

Add frozen berries to a serving of plain or vanilla yogurt.

Sprinkle fresh berries on a salad or cereal. Try:

Beans are a great source of antioxidants and you can easily add them to soups, stews and casseroles. Try adding:

Spice up your soups and salads! Try including:

What the Experts are Finding

A recent Swedish study looked to see if antioxidants played a role in women ages 49 to 83 having a stroke. Even after taking behaviors into account, the study found that women with higher intakes of antioxidants had a lower risk of stroke.  Most of the participants had no history of heart disease. But, the ones who ate the most antioxidants had a 17 percent lower risk of total stroke compared with women who had the least amount. 

Those with the highest intake got their antioxidants from:

But, the results were different for the participants who had a history of heart disease. For them, a higher antioxidant intake was associated with a lower risk of only one type of stroke. Those with higher levels of antioxidant intake had a 46 to 57 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke than those with the lowest intake.

No matter how antioxidants work, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is always a good idea. Try some of these tips to add antioxidants to your diet!

This article originally appeared in Chow Line, a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission.

For more information:

Go to the Stroke health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: May 13, 2012

Hugo  Melgar-Quinonez, PhD Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, PhD
Assistant Professor
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University