Eating a diet high in vitamin C may decrease your risk of stroke, particularly if you smoke, according to a study published in Neurology. The study found that people with the lowest amount of vitamin C in their diets were 30% more likely to have a stroke than people with the highest amount of vitamin C in their diets. Smokers with diets high in vitamin C were more than 70% less likely to have a stroke than smokers with diets low in vitamin C.
Vitamin E was also protective for smokers. Those with diets high in vitamin E were more than 20% less likely to have a stroke than those with diets low in vitamin E.
“Of course these study findings do not justify smoking. No one should smoke,” said study author Monique Breteler, MD, PhD. “But it is good news that high levels of antioxidants may help reduce the risk of stroke in smokers.”
The study involved 5,197 people age 55 or older in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. All of the participants had no cognitive problems, were living independently and had never had a stroke. They were then tracked for an average of 6.4 years. During that time, 253 people had strokes.
People with the highest amount of vitamin C in their diets consumed greater than 133 mg of vitamin C per day. People with the lowest amount in their diets consumed less than 95 mg per day.
American Academy of Neurology, Nov 10, 2003