“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In fact, eating two medium-sized apples a day could cut your risk of stroke. There is some real truth to this information according to a recent study. Stroke is a leading cause of premature death and disability in the United States and recent evidence shows that not only does diet play a big part, but there is a tie between how much of certain food groups you consume and your risk of stroke.
A large meta-analysis of information in the U.S., Asia and Europe found the intake of fruits and vegetables can dramatically reduce individual risk factors in the development of stroke.
Researchers discovered for every 200 g increase of fruits and vegetables in the diet, there was a reduction in stroke risk from 32% to 11%. The research looked at 760,000 adults of which 17,000 had suffered a recent stroke. The results clearly indicated that the higher the intake of fruit and vegetables, the lower the risk of stroke.
If you don’t measure your food intake in grams, what does 200 g of fruit or vegetables actually equate to? Two medium-sized apples, that’s all. Imagine the potential to your health this simple diet shift could mean?
The reasons why your diet is so important are endless, but in terms of stroke risk, the benefits are remarkable. Below are a few of the ways the simple addition of just a few fruits and veggies can lower your risk of stroke, so you can live longer, healthier and happier:
- Fruits and vegetables lower your levels of blood sugar, insulin and inflammation, all things that are directly related to your risk of a stroke.
- The intake of more fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of blot clots in the arteries.
- Vegetables and fruits are high in fiber which can help keep both cholesterol and blood pressure under control.
- The more high quality your diet is, the less reliant you are on high-sugar, refined carbohydrates, fat and junk food.
- Fruit and vegetables are high in various antioxidants that can decrease free radical generation, control inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Fruits and vegetables have high levels of several necessary vitamins including vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B6, potassium and selenium. These nutrients all help to reduce inflammation.
Good examples of veggies to include are any leafy green vegetables, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnips and beet greens. Others to keep in mind are sweet potatoes and green beans. They all are loaded with the nutrients that can keep your stroke risk down.
If you aren’t a fan of vegetables, any number of fruits can lead to the same outcome. Apples, pears, citrus fruits, grapes, berries, mango and of course, the humble banana are all fruits that you might want to keep on hand.
My recommendation is to consume at least three to four servings of fruits and vegetables every day to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, and live well.
Brooks, M., “More Evidence Fruit and Vegetables Cut Stroke Risk,” Medscape website, May 8, 2014; http://www.medscape.com/
Hu, D., et al., “Fruits and Vegetables Consumption and Risk of Stroke: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies,” Stroke May 8, 2014; doi: 10.1161/ STROKEAHA.114.004836.