A High Antioxidant Diet Lowers Heart Attack Risk

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Super Foods
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

A High Antioxidant Diet Lowers Heart Attack Risk

In this day and age of grabbing quick, highly-processed foods here’s a study we all need to note. Researchers have found that women who eat a high-antioxidant diet have a significantly lower risk of having a heart attack.

For this study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers studied 32,561 Swedish women ages 49 to 83 over a ten-year period. They used a food frequency questionnaire to assess these women’s diets and divided them into five categories based on the antioxidant value of the foods they ate.

What they found is that those women who ate the most antioxidants (seven servings daily) were eating three times as many fruits and vegetables as the lowest-intake group. That high antioxidant intake benefited them with a 20 percent lower risk of a heart attack.

While this study focused on women, men aren’t off the hook. Numerous studies have shown both men and women reap tremendous cardiovascular benefits from a high-antioxidant diet.

For instance, researchers have found that vitamin C protects blood vessel linings from damaging oxidized LDL cholesterol. Other studies have shown that the antioxidant glutathione improves the functioning of the endothelial cells lining coronary arteries and produce chemical substances that relax blood vessels. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s the take-away for you? We all need to face facts that Americans are more obese and heart attack prone because of our tendency to down convenient, but fat and sugary, foods on-the-go. Instead, we should all eat more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, beets, red bell pepper, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

One of my favorite ways to get antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in my diet is in a smoothie. Here’s a video of my son and I making what I call a Sinatra-Smart Smoothie. I’ve included the recipe so you can make it at home.

Now it’s your turn: What are your favorite antioxidant-rich foods?

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