The role of flavonoids in CVD, especially in strokes, is unclear. Our aim was to study the role of flavonoids in CVD. We studied the association between the intakes of five subclasses (flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols and anthocyanidins), a total of twenty-six flavonoids, on the risk of ischaemic stroke and CVD mortality. The study population consisted of 1950 eastern Finnish men aged 42–60 years free of prior CHD or stroke as part of the prospective population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. During an average follow-up time of 15·2 years, 102 ischaemic strokes and 153 CVD deaths occurred. In the Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for age and examination years, BMI, systolic blood pressure, hypertension medication, serum HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, serum TAG, maximal oxygen uptake, smoking, family history of CVD, diabetes, alcohol intake, energy-adjusted intake of folate, vitamin E, total fat and saturated fat intake (percentage of energy), men in the highest quartile of flavonol and flavan-3-ol intakes had a relative risk of 0·55 (95 % CI 0·31, 0·99) and 0·59 (95 % CI 0·30, 1·14) for ischaemic stroke, respectively, as compared with the lowest quartile. After multivariate adjustment, the relative risk for CVD death in the highest quartile of flavanone and flavone intakes were 0·54 (95 % CI 0·32, 0·92) and 0·65 (95 % CI 0·40, 1·05), respectively. The present results suggest that high intakes of flavonoids may be associated with decreased risk of ischaemic stroke and possibly with reduced CVD mortality.