Antioxidant compounds found in tea, wine, fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of having a heart attack for some men but they do not appear to offer protection against fatal heart attacks, researchers report.
Antioxidants are compounds found in foods that combat the effects of free radicals, which are naturally occurring particles that can contribute to chronic disease and aging. Studies have shown that the antioxidants known as flavonoids can mop up free radicals, reducing the risk of stroke and reducing the effects of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
To investigate whether they offered any protection against heart attack, researchers from the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland analyzed the diets of more than 25,000 male smokers aged 50-69 years with no history of heart attack. Men who consumed the greatest amount of these compounds had a slightly lower risk of having a heart attack six years later, compared with men who consumed the lowest amount each day.
Their finding contradicts previous studies, which have shown a stronger relationship between the antioxidant compounds and death from heart attack. Individuals in this study also smoked and it is possible that the effects of flavonoids are different between smokers and non-smokers.
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