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Higher Fruit and Vegetable Intake = Lower Stroke Risk

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away," the old saying goes. True, according to research, which continually demonstrates that eating fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer and a host of other severe health conditions; this protective effect may extend to the risk of stroke, a condition in which part of the brain does not get enough oxygen (usually because a blood vessel suddenly bursts) and begins to die.

In a study published in Stroke (a journal of the American Heart Association), more than 40,000 men and women were tracked from 1980-1998, gathering data on fruit and vegetable intake (particularly green and yellow fruits and vegetables) at the beginning of the study and registering deaths from stroke during the entire study period. Daily intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a 26 percent reduction in the risk of total stroke in men and women, compared to those consuming the foods only once weekly.

It's been estimated that someone suffers a stroke every 53 seconds. This horrific event claims more than 158,000 lives every year, and leaves millions more temporarily or permanently debilitated. If you know a stroke survivor, ask them if they would have eaten more fruits and vegetables in return for their health.

The obvious conclusion: Make sure you get adequate daily intake of fruits and vegetables - it may save your life or the life of someone you love.

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Sauvaget C, Nagano J, Allen N, et al. Vegetable and fruit intake and stroke mortality in the Hiroshima/Ngasaki Life Span Study. Stroke 2003:34(10), pp2355.