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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