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A diet high in antioxidants may help prevent heart failure

April 24, 2013

According to a new study, increased intakes of antioxidant nutrients are associated with a lower risk of developing heart failure.

The prospective cohort study estimated the intake of all antioxidants in diet based on food-frequency questionnaires (total antioxidant capacity of diet) of 33,713 women (aged 49-83 years) and documented cases of heart failure over an 11-year period (1). The results showed that – after adjusting the data for risk factors such as smoking, body mass index, and physical activity, participants with the highest total antioxi-dant capacity of diet had a 42% decreased risk of heart failure compared with those with the lowest anti-oxidant capacity.

The researchers commented the study results would provide additional evidence that consuming a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods benefits cardiovascular health. Antioxidants are thought to protect against car-diovascular disease by preventing the oxidation of lipids and endothelial damage, which can lead to athero-sclerosis, and by preserving the nitric oxide pool, which promotes vasodilatation and potentially reduces blood pressure, a factor that is of particular importance in the development of heart failure. According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart failure affects 5.7 million people in the United States, half of whom die within five years of diagnosis.

References

  1. Rautiainen S. et al. Total antioxidant capacity of diet and risk of heart failure: a population-based prospective cohort of women. The American Journal of Medicine. Published online, April 2013.