Background: In recent years, it has become more evident that oxidative stress is involved in the development of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, reactive oxygen species seems to be the common mechanism for endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation and arterial stiffness, resulting in a blood pressure increase and early vascular aging.
Methods: This review presents the potential role of antioxidant nutrients and exercise for cardiovascular protection.
Results: Flavonoids, vitamins and minerals present in some fruits and foliage are considered natural antioxidants. In fact, fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of antioxidants. Several clinical trials have extensively studied vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, polyphenols, plus selenium and zinc. In addition, many authors have been carried out clinical trials to evaluate the mechanisms of oxidative stress attenuation after exercise. Exercise responses may vary according to the Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type (FITT) principle, making it difficult to obtain a consensus concerning the exercise properties and redox status. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been reported as an efficient option for metabolic adaptations in a short time. Aerobic exercises must be performed at least three times a week, for two months or more, using moderate to vigorous intensity to promote a positive effect on oxidative stress and vascular function.
Conclusion: The recognition of appropriate nutrients and exercise with antioxidant properties may be an important supportive approach to impair early vascular aging and to prevent cardiovascular disease.