Eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce stroke risk by almost a third, according to a review of recent evidence by researchers from China. The findings are consistent with the current knowledge that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged to prevent stroke.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked by a clot or a burst blood vessel. Without emergency care, a stroke can lead to severe brain damage or death.
Several studies have looked at the influence of diet on stroke risk. Some have linked eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to lowered risk; others have found no link at all.
Eating fruits and vegetables may benefit overall health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and body weight as well as other stroke risk factors. It’s also possible that specific nutrients in the foods may reduce stroke risk.
To get a better understanding of the relationship between stroke risk and produce in the diet, the researchers searched for reports from recent decades that tracked the eating habits and health of men and women around the world.
Twenty studies conducted among 760,629 participants were included in the analysis.
Overall, the people who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 21 percent less likely to have a stroke, compared to people who ate the lowest amounts, the researchers found.
The benefits rose along with the amounts of produce consumed. Stroke risk fell by 32 percent for every 200 grams (g) per day of fruit people ate, and 11 percent with every 200 g of vegetables (200 grams is equivalent to 2.5 half-cup servings.)
The researchers found that citrus fruits, leafy vegetables and apples and pears were the specific types linked to reduced stroke risk.
This finding doesn’t prove eating fruits and vegetables caused fewer strokes among the participants. It’s possible other factors influences the results; for example, people who eat more fruits and vegetables may lead generally healthier lives.
Source: Stroke, online May 8, 2014.
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