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Antioxidant Rich Diet May Lower Risk of Heart Failure by 42%

Antioxidants help prevent cells from free radicals that damage the body and increase the risk of certain disease. A recent extensive study indicates that an antioxidant rich diet may decrease the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 42%.

Participants in the study included 33,713 women between the ages of 49 and 83 who were a part of the Swedish Mammography Cohort. The researchers administered food frequency questionnaires to the participants. The results were used to determine the antioxidant capacity of the participants’ diets.

The researchers followed the women for 11.3 years, during which time 894 cases of heart failure occurred. After comparing the antioxidant levels in foods with the incidences of heart failure, the researchers determined that women with the highest antioxidant capacity were 42% less likely to suffer from heart failure than those with the lowest.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard, the Karolinska Institutet, and the University of Alabama. It was published online ahead of print on April 3, 2013, in The American Journal of Medicine.

Antioxidants are essential for good health because they combat free radicals, which break down cells in your body and can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. The production of free-radicals can be increased as a result of smoking, pollution, alcohol, infection and stress.

The best way to increase your antioxidant intake is through a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you know your diet could use more of these healthy foods, start with small changes like adding fruit to your cereal in the morning.

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