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Eating Fruits and Vegetables Can Reduce Stroke Risk

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Stroke Ischemic Stroke Fruit Vegetables

Every year, over 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. That's one person every three minutes. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including children and even babies.

A stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK. It is also the single most common cause of severe disability. More than 250,000 people live with disabilities causes by stroke.

Did you know that eating up to five more servings of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce the risk of ischemic stoke in men and women by up to 30 percent? An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, representing 80 percent of all cases. It occurs when a clot forms in an artery leading to the brain, slowing or stopping the flow of oxygen-rich blood, causing part of the brain to die.

What the Studies Show

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, found that men and women who consumed the highest amount of fruits and vegetables daily (an average of 5.1 servings per day among men and 5.8 servings per day among women) were found to have a 31 percent lower risk of suffering an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the lowest amount of fruits and vegetables daily (fewer than three servings per day). It was also noted that each additional serving of fruits and vegetables consumed daily results in a 6 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke. However, the researchers did not find any further reduction in risk beyond six servings per day compared with intake of five to six servings daily. One serving can be a medium piece of fruit; 1/2-cup of cooked, canned, or cut-up vegetables or fruit; a cup of chopped lettuce and other raw leafy vegetables; 3/4-cup (6 ounces) of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice; 1/2-cup of canned beans and peas; or 1/4-cup of fruit.

Favourite Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables, which produced the most effective results, included, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, spinach, as well as citrus fruits and citrus juice. The study also emphasizes the need for a healthy life style to help reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. Fruit and vegetables in the diet will not reduce the risk as significantly for people who smoke or exercise infrequently.

Total Health

Fruit and vegetables are essential for our diet and have a wide range of healthful effects. The phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables are non-nutritive substances that may have a variety of biological effects in the body -- some acting as antioxidants, or helping the immune system and others altering enzymes that help drugs work better in our system. Scientific studies also indicate that eating more fruit and vegetables can aids in the prevention of major cancers, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and plays a preventive role in birth defects, cataract formation, hypertension, asthma, diverticulosis, obesity, and diabetes.

Although many adults appear to realize that fruit and vegetables are a very important part of their diet, it seems that not very many people realize just how very important they are. So perhaps its time we all put fruit and vegetables at the centre of their plates and eat for better health and a longer life.

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