In the largest and most complete trial to date, scientists analyzed over 30,000 women who were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study. Those women with no history of cardiovascular disease who ate the highest amount of antioxidants in foods had a 17% lower risk for strokes than those who consumed the least amount. Among women with a history of heart disease, those who consumed the most antioxidants had 45% less risk.
Stroke is the number one cause of heart disease in the world. Oxidative stress may be the cause of some strokes, as the body may be incapable of neutralizing free radicals, which can lead to inflammation and vascular damage.
So how might foods loaded with antioxidants diminish stroke risk? They may help improve the function of the cells by reducing blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation. Incorporating more antioxidant-rich foods in the diet is quite easy to do. This study suggests that eating a diet rich in antioxidants, especially from fruits and vegetables, may be the single, most important step one can take for stroke prevention.