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   May 12

Eating just two and a half portions of fruit and veg a day cuts stroke risk by a third

Stroke risk decreases by 32% with every 200g of fruit consumed each day

Risk is cut by 11% with every 200g of veg eaten daily, a Chinese study said

Over 150,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the UK

Munching just two and a half portions of fruit and vegetables daily may significantly reduce the risk of stroke, new research claims.

Stroke risk decreases by 32 per cent with every 200 grams of fruit consumed each day and 11 per cent with every 200 grams of vegetables consumed each day, according to a study.

The conclusion came from analysis of 20 studies about the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on risk of stroke published over the past 19 years.

Food for thought: Stroke risk decreases by 32 per cent with every 200 grams of fruit consumed each day and 11 per cent with every 200 grams of vegetables consumed each day


Stroke is a ‘brain attack’, according to the Stroke Association.

Its website says: ‘For your brain to function, it needs a constant blood supply, which provides vital nutrients and oxygen to the brain cells. A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and brain cells are damaged or die.

‘About a third of people who have a stroke make a significant recovery within a month. But most stroke survivors will have long-term problems.

It may take a year or longer for them to make the best possible recovery. Sadly, in the most severe cases, strokes can be fatal or cause long-term disability.’

It says that members of the public can recognise a stroke using the FAST test:

1) Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

2) Arm weakness – Can the person raise both arms?

3) Speech problems – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

4) Time to call 999.

The Stroke Association says that failing any of these tests means it’s a medical emergency and it’s time to call 999.

‘Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population,’ said Yan Qu, the study’s senior author and director of the intensive care unit at Qingdao Municipal Hospital, China.

‘In particular, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fibre requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements.’

The studies demonstrated that high fruit and vegetable consumption can lower blood pressure – high blood pressure is a major cause of strokes – and improve microvascular function.

This diet also has favourable effects on body mass index, waist circumference, cholesterol and inflammation, the study said.

The beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables applied consistently to men and women of all ages. The NHS recommends eating five 80g portions of fruit and veg daily.

The researchers combined the results of six studies from the U.S, eight from Europe and six from China and Japan. They noted that low fruit and vegetable consumption is prevalent worldwide, and especially in low and middle-income countries.

Over 150,000 people suffer a stroke every year in the UK and it is the third largest cause of death, with heart disease and cancer being the most deadly conditions, according to the NHS.

Strokes are the largest cause of adult disability in the UK, as they can starve the brain of oxygen, leading to permanent damage.

Eighty per cent of strokes are the ischaemic variety, where blood supply is curtailed by a blood clot.

The other type is haemorrhagic, where a blood vessel connected to the brain bursts.

Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables up to 600 grams each day could reduce the burden of ischemic stroke by 19 percent globally, according to the World Health Organization.

A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland, meanwhile, showed that consuming alcohol more frequently than twice a week increases the risk of stroke mortality in men.

In China, stroke is the leading cause of death, with an estimated 1.7million people dying in 2010. In the United States, stroke is the No4 cause of death and a leading cause of disability.

Brush with death: Chris Tarrant said he felt lucky to be alive after suffering a stroke on a flight from Thailand to Heathrow
Chris Tarrant and Andrew Marr are two recent high-profile stroke victims.

Mr Tarrant suffered one during an 11-hour flight from Bangkok to Heathrow.

He said afterwards: ‘I wasn’t sure if I was going to fade away completely on my own. I am incredibly lucky to be alive because one in three people who have strokes don’t make it. It has made me appreciate my life so much more.’

Results of the study were published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

Source: Daily Mail

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