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By Nutrition Experts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012.

Women can reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack by 20 per cent simply by gorging on a rich antioxidant diet comprised of fruit and vegetables.

Research published in the American Journal of Medicine identified a strong link between frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables and a lower chance of suffering myocardial infarction.

The Swedish study examined the eating habits of more than 32,500 women aged between 49 and 83 to determine the effects of their diet on their heart health.

It was found that those who consumed seven portions of fruit and vegetables per day cut their heart attack risk by a fifth when compared with women who ate just 2.4 servings of the antioxidant-rich foods each day.

However, it seems the antioxidants must be found in natural sources as research has failed to identify the benefits of antioxidant supplements on heart disease.

Lead investigator Alicja Wolk said: "Our study was the first to look at the effect of all dietary antioxidants in relation to myocardial infarction."

According to Dr Wolk, one study that looked at antioxidant supplements actually found a higher all-cause mortality rate.

Managing editor of the American Journal of Medicine Pamela Powers highlighted how diets focused on high fruit and vegetable intake "may be on the right track".

Currently, the government endorses eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday, however, this study clearly outlines the benefits of consuming more than the recommended daily intake.

According to the NHS, men are three times more likely than women to suffer a heart attack, with people over the age of 45 particularly at risk.

Figures show there were more than 92,000 heart attacks reported in England between April 2010 and 2011, stressing just how many Britons are affected by the health condition.

Recent research from the Department of Health also showed that almost half of adults have elevated cholesterol levels - a significant risk for heart disease.

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