Flavonoid-rich foods have antiinflammatory, antiatherogenic, and antithrombotic properties that may contribute to a lower risk of ischemic stroke.
We aimed to investigate the relationship between habitual flavonoid consumption and incidence of ischemic stroke in participants from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study.
In this prospective cohort study, 55,169 Danish residents without a prior ischemic stroke [median (IQR) age at enrolment of 56 y (52–60)], were followed for 21 y (20–22). We used Phenol-Explorer to estimate flavonoid intake from food frequency questionnaires obtained at study entry. Incident cases of ischemic stroke were identified from Danish nationwide registries and restricted cubic splines in Cox proportional hazards models were used to investigate relationships with flavonoid intake.
During follow-up, 4237 individuals experienced an ischemic stroke. Compared with participants in Q1 and after multivariable adjustment for demographics and lifestyle factors, those in Q5—for intake of total flavonoids, flavonols, and flavanol oligo + polymers—had a 12% [HR (95% CI): 0.88 (0.81, 0.96)], 10% [0.90 (0.82, 0.98)], and 18% [0.82 (0.75, 0.89)] lower risk of ischemic stroke incidence, respectively. Multivariable (demographic and lifestyle) adjusted associations for anthocyanins and flavones with risk of ischemic stroke were not linear, with moderate but not higher intakes associated with lower risk [anthocyanins Q3 vs. Q1 HR (95% CI): 0.85 (0.79, 0.93); flavones: 0.90 (0.84, 0.97)]. Following additional adjustment for dietary confounders, similar point estimates were observed; however, significance was only retained for anthocyanins and flavanol oligo + polymers [anthocyanins Q3 vs. Q1 HR (95% CI): 0.86 (0.79, 0.94); flavanol oligo + polymers Q5 vs. Q1 0.86 (0.78, 0.94)].
These findings suggest that moderate habitual consumption of healthy flavonoid-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke and further investigation is therefore warranted.