Diets rich in fruits and vegetables cut the risk of stroke dramatically

Researchers have done a meta-analysis on a large number of people (>750,000), and looked at their consumption of fruits and vegetables to see if eating those substances decreased risk of stroke.

They found that by increasing the consumption of either fruits or vegetables, you could significantly decrease your risk of stroke.

A meta-analysis is a statistical method that looks at data from a number of different, but related, studies. These studies enrolled men and women and were carried out in the US, Europe and Asia.

The investigators found that:

* Stroke risk decreased by 32% in people who ate at least 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of fruits per day.

Fruits and vegetables via Shutterstock

Fruits and vegetables via Shutterstock

* Stroke risk decreased by about 11% in people who ate about 200 grams of vegetables per day.

* The decrease occurred regardless of the gender or age of the patient in the study.

* Additionally, diets high in fruits and vegetables are associated with other positive factors. Blood pressure is lowed, cholesterol decreases, weight loss can occur, BMI (Body Mass Index), associated with cardiovascular risk decreases, there is a decrease in markers for inflammation and there are other positive benefits, as well.

The WHO (World Health Organization) is recommending that everyone increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to about 600 grams (~21 ounces) per day. It estimates that if everyone did this, incidence of stroke would decrease worldwide by about 19%.

Sadly, US males rarely eat anywhere near enough fruits and vegetables. Male diets tend to lean heavily toward meat and carbohydrates. Though men do tend to favor beans, many other vegetables are ignored.


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Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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  • 4th Turning

    The earth would split open if anyone ever tried to colorize those films…
    Never got use to american makeovers-the characters all look like they
    are wearing polyester from the goodwill.

  • emjayay

    I happened to take a very well curated film history class in 1970 that included Wild Strawberries and Virgin Spring (Bergman) and Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini) and Billy the Kid with Robert Taylor. I don’t think anyone of college age probably sees any of that kind of stuff today. I got a DVD of Wild Strawberries from the library and it was really interesting to see it again after all these years.

    The NYC PBS station showed The Train (John Frankenheimer) from 1964 tonight. Apparently not a big success in 1964, but because it was a black and white sort of European type film that people wouldn’t mostly get then. Burt Lancaster and Jeanne fuckin Moreau fer godsakes. And younger people today probably not either if they don’t have a background in that kind of photography and filmmaking, which they probably mostly do not have.

    Oh right, strawberries….

  • 4th Turning

    Thanks for the film prompt-a classic. Just watched Patrik 1.5 coincidentally….
    [And ate a Wash. state red delicious apple whose 2 yr. shelf-life apparently
    expired yesterday. Yuck. Not sure it's worth the bother.] Real homegrown
    everything is so complete and satisfying on all levels. SC strawberries are coming in now and to my great astonishment actually have the right color and something very akin to flavor unlike those baseballs from calif. which are a national disgrace-and what’s with their fluorescent citrus dyes! New and improved-whatacrock.
    Black rice sounds like an oxy ? Will have to unleash google on that one!

  • Indigo

    Yes but the wild ones are so small it’s a hassle to harvest as much as a cup of berries. The ones from the garden are better but the steroid ones from the store taste like wood. It’s not easy to find tasty strawberries these days.

  • emjayay

    I called them “wild” because that’s what they are called, although obviously they (the little ones) are not picked by children frolicking in the woods carrying little wicker baskets. You never see them sold fresh, even in Maine.

  • emjayay

    Tastes, which are really mostly smells anyway, and smells make direct associations in our brains. When I was a kid we picked wild strawberries and sometimes I eat a farm one that recalls that taste. You don’t have to think about it as it bypasses the thinking part.

    Also in a tangentially related note, Wild Strawberries is a great Bergman film which I recently saw again. Check it out – your local public library may have it. I think it was a Criterion release and it has a professorial comment track.

  • emjayay

    All I know is that lots of them grow south of San Francisco along the coast. Which means they do well in not that hot summer weather while getting wet all the time from fog.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Wild strawberries are what strawberries should taste like. Another nutritional bonanza is black rice.

  • 4th Turning

    Every have wild strawberries?
    I’ve got a great blueberry muffin going-also a wonderment for the soul.
    I think I read somewhere blueberries are at the top of the food chain in
    nutritional gold.

  • Indigo

    We raised beef cattle too and had a garden, not gigantic but big enough. The best treat from the garden, I always thought, was the new potatoes and fresh peas in a cream sauce that mom made. It was a superb treat that happened only a few days every late spring. And then came the tomatoes, the green beans, the acorn squash, . . .

  • Indigo

    Blueberries grew wild on the farm where I grew up. Obviously, those are the best. But today’s commercialization of All-That-Is puts a decent berry on the market. I like them best in a nicely chilled white wine sauce. A little sugar, a little white wine, some berries. Maybe some toasted croissant pieces rolled in butter, sugar and cinnamon to garnish. All good!

  • Drew2u

    My family raise our own beef cattle and we’ve always had a GIGANTIC garden, grown from seeds every year; working on getting heritage seeds.
    This year I’m trying my hand at brussels sprouts, since we’ve never tried growing them before.

  • Drew2u

    “You’re turning violet, Violet!”

  • emjayay

    In most places “wild” blueberries, the smaller ones, are not available except for frozen. Trader Joe’s has pesticide free or organic ones frozen, and at a reasonable price. Except for now they didn’t. I had to buy the regular blueberry/raspberry/blackberry mix instead. Oh well….
    If you haven’t had the “wild” smaller type, give em a try. In non-TJ areas Wyler’s may be available. I think Safeway may have a version also.

    I found out about them when I lived in Maine. And soldier beans which don’t exist anywhere else apparently. How do they expect anyone to have a damn Bean Suppah?

  • emjayay

    I just read The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman. Anyone interested in this stuff might want to check it out. My Amazon review (and I’m not claiming brilliance here – lots of others there analyzed it in detail):

    “I took Biological Anthropology in college in the 90’s, so I didn’t already get a really ancient version of ancient human history. This also means I already know a lot of this stuff. But this book was still great in filling in a lot of bits I didn’t happen to come across before or later, and updates on a lot of discoveries and ideas that have come up since then. It doesn’t seem so dense that someone with less background would have any problem with it, and is written in a very readable style. I just wanted to take notes all along on questions I had and then ask him in class the next day. Highly recommended.”

    OK, that first sentence needs a lot of parsing. Rewrite!

    He doesn’t go into prescribing exact recommendations for human food today, but does point out that the agricultural period is relatively short, and includes a chart of what food components our hunter-gatherer ancestors, representing a vastly longer period of our evolution, ended up ingesting. They ate a lot less salt and a lot more fiber. And they walked a lot of miles every day. Of course if you really wanted to go paleo, you wouldn’t be eating blueberries and parsnips, but chokeberries and elderberries and some root that was a lot like what is attached to a dandelion. Hence all the fiber. Maybe work some dirt in also.

    It’s worth noting that some of the most long lived and healthy people on earth are Okinawans, who eat a lot of rice which is agricultural not paleo. And a lot of fish and oolong tea and soy, all not paleo.

  • cole3244

    vegetarian for 30 years then vegan for 24 of those years, its a win win at least for me.

  • 4th Turning

    Blueberries x 2 = indigoberries?

  • 4th Turning

    tips to fit more fruits and vegetables into your day:
    Keep fruit out where you can see it. That way you’ll be more likely to eat it. Keep it out on the counter or in the front of the fridge.
    Get some every meal, every day. Try filling half your plate with vegetables or fruit at each meal. Serving up salads, stir fry, or other fruit and vegetable-rich fare makes it easier to reach this goal. Bonus points if you can get some fruits and vegetables at snack time, too.
    Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. Variety is the key to a healthy diet. Get out of a rut and try some new fruits and vegetables—include dark green leafy vegetables; yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables; cooked tomatoes; and citrus fruits.
    Bag the potatoes. Choose other vegetables that are packed with more nutrients and more slowly digested carbs.
    Make it a meal. Try some new recipes where vegetables take center stage, such as Tunisian carrot salad and spicy broccolini with red pepper.

  • 2patricius2

    Yummy!

  • Indigo

    Blueberries!

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