Yet another reason to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies: recent findings from a Swedish study show diets rich in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and whole grains may lower risk of stroke among women, even for those with a previous history of heart disease. The researchers followed over 31,000 women, ages 49 to 83, for about 10 years, using food frequency questionnaires to estimate the antioxidant content of their diets while tracking incidence of stroke. Among women with no history of heart disease, risk of stroke was significantly lower for those with the highest levels of diet-based antioxidants, and among those with heart disease, increased antioxidant capacity decreased risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. These findings persisted even after controlling for factors such as exercise and not smoking. Although fruits and vegetables contributed the highest percentage to dietary antioxidant capacity, whole grains, tea and chocolate also played an important role.
This December, why not share the gift of health with fun holiday games that promote physical activity and good-for-you treats that still look and taste worthy of a special occasion. Beginning this week, watch for 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Ideas for you and your family, friends and students to enjoy!