Antioxidants are naturally occurring molecules that are believed to fight against the action of free radicals. These radically are originally thought helping to prevent the diseases such as heart diseases and cancer. Though fruits and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants an oversimplified view of the power of antioxidants causes a boom in the vitamin and dietary supplement industry in which the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E tops the list. Today the antioxidant supplements are a big business but can they help your health is a question.
A newly released study shows that eating a diet high in antioxidants especially from the vegetables and fruits can help to slash a woman’s chances of suffering from a heart attack by 20%. The study will be published in the October edition of The American Journal of Medicine.
The researchers at the Karolina Institute followed 32,500 Swedish women aged between 49 and 83 for a period of ten years. The women answered the questionnaires regarding their diet and eating habits. By the end of the ten year research period about 1,114 women who participated in this study had suffered a heart attack.
The dietary habits of the participants differed with some eating as little as 2.4 portions of vegetables and fruit a day while others ate almost 7 portions. This study showed that the women having the highest antioxidant levels are those who ate almost seven fruit and vegetable portions a day had a 20% lower risk of heart attack than those with the lowest antioxidant levels.
Today there are a wide range of weight loss diets available. Most of these promises health benefits for those who lose weight. However, as per the researchers in this study, the only real way to gain the health benefits from losing weight either through diet or weight loss surgery is by having a diet which is high in naturally occurring fruit and vegetables.
Only The Real Thing Will Do
While the past studies on the benefit of taking the antioxidant supplements to reduce the heart attack risks were inconclusive, it is thought that this study showed such strong outcomes as the women consumed naturally occurring antioxidants which is more effective. A healthy diet provides a range of antioxidants including thousands of compounds found in our diet but which cannot be given in a single supplement.
Antioxidant Rich Foods
If you want to get your antioxidant levels up then try to eat fresh or dried berries such as blueberries or cranberries, nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans, beans and artichoke hearts. Try spicing up your food with antioxidant rich herbs and spices such as oregano, cloves and cinnamon. Remember that variety is key- try to get a wide variety of vegetables, fresh fruits and nuts everyday to optimize your health.
How to Help Your Heart?
Instead of taking supplements, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends adopting a healthy eating pattern including the healthy food choices as a way to get all the nutrients you need. The types of foods you eat, the amount you eat can affect multiple risk factors such as blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. Incorporate regular physical activity in your life and do not smoke to reduce further risk.
The AHA recommends a diet which is rich in vegetables, fruits, limited in saturated and trans fat, fish, added sugars, high fiber, low fat and fat free products and whole grains. Watch your sodium intake; sample the diet pattern by talking to a dietician. One of the best reasons to include vegetables and fruits is not just antioxidants but the number of important nutrients they contribute which most people don’t get enough of including the vitamins A, C and K, folate, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber. Also they are naturally low in saturated fat and calories!
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