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Lower Stroke Risk by Eating more Fruits and Vegetables

Update Date: May 08, 2014 04:04 PM EDT

A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been tied to reducing the risks of several diseases, such as obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of consuming more fruits and vegetables on global stroke risk. They found that if everyone added these produces into their daily diet, people's risk of stroke will decline.

"Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population," said Yan Qu, M.D., the study's senior author, director of the intensive care unit at Qingdao Municipal Hospital and professor at the Medical College of Qingdao University in Qingdao, China. "In particular, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fiber requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements."

For this study, the researchers reviewed 20 studies that were published over the past 19 years. The studies included a total of 760,629 men and women that were from the United states, China, Japan and countries in Europe. There were a total of 16,981 recorded stroke cases. When the researchers examined the people's vegetable and fruit consumption, they found that for every 200 grams of fruit eaten every day, stroke risk fell by 32 percent. For every 200 grams of vegetables consumed per day, the risk of stroke fell by 11 percent.

The researchers calculated these estimations based on how fruit and vegetables help reduce levels of blood pressure while improving microvascular function. The team noted that age did not influence how much the fruit and vegetable consumption affected stroke risk. Other factors that the researchers accounted for were smoking, alcohol, blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise, body mass index and other consumed foods.

The researchers findings add more evidence that people should work harder to consume more fruits and vegetables. The study was published in the American Heart Association's (AHA) journal, Stroke.

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