We know that women at menopause, and especially those who have had an early hysterectomy, can be more at risk of heart disease and strokes unless they take protective preventive action with bioidentical natural progesterone and an antioxidant-rich diet.
This is bad news for me, as I really dislike most vegetables, and Brussels in particular, but it seems I might have to bite the bullet so to speak. New research shows that Swedish women who had an antioxidant-rich diet had fewer strokes regardless of whether they had a previous history of cardiovascular disease. The study was reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association and is a long term study as researchers tracked women with and without history of cardiovascular disease for up to 11 years from 1999.
How Do They Work?
We know that eating antioxidant-rich foods are good for overall health but now for women particularly they may reduce your risk of stroke by inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them. This leads to several health issues, but of relevance here is the increase in inflammation, blood vessel damage and stiffening. The antioxidants needed are vitamins C and E, carotenoids and flavonoids, all of which can inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation by scavenging the free radicals. Antioxidants, especially flavonoids, may also help reduce blood clotting, blood pressure and inflammation.
What you need to know is your total antioxidant capacity (TAC), which measures the free radical reducing capacity of all antioxidants in the diet and considers synergistic effects between substances. In the study, the researchers categorized the women according to their TAC levels — five groups without a history of cardiovascular disease and four with previous cardiovascular disease.
For women with no history of cardiovascular disease who had the highest TAC, fruits and vegetables contributed about 50 percent of TAC and they had a statistically significant 17 percent lower risk of a stroke. Women with a history of cardiovascular disease but with high levels of TAC had a statistically significant 46 percent to 57 percent lower risk of a hemorrhagic stroke compared with those with a low antioxidant intake.
So What To Eat?
Some surprising antioxidant contributors from the study’s analysis of diet included whole grains (18 percent), tea (16 percent) and chocolate (5 percent).
Well that’s good news on the Christmas chocolate box front at least, but for the rest antioxidants are found in plant foods, particularly those that have bright colours. For the Festive season, and to start the New Year healthily, stock up on cranberries and blueberries – both of which rank highly – and don’t forget the humble apple which also scores well.
Supplementing with bioidentical natural progesterone will also provide your heart with extra help – and if you have had an early menopause this article will also give you ’food’ for thought.