Eat fruits and veggies to keep stroke away!

fruits and veggiesResearchers have said that eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of stroke worldwide. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 20 studies published over the last 19 years to assess the effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on risk of stroke globally. The combined studies involved 760,629 men and women who had 16,981 strokes.

Stroke risk decreased by 32 percent with every 200 grams of fruit consumed each day and 11 percent with every 200 grams of vegetables consumed each day. Yan Qu, M.D., the study's senior author, director of the intensive care unit at Qingdao Municipal Hospital and professor at the Medical College of Qingdao University in Qingdao, China, said improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population.

Qu said 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. Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) provide calories or energy. Our bodies need smaller amounts of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

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The researcher cited studies demonstrating that high fruit and vegetable consumption can lower blood pressure and improve microvascular function. It has favourable effects on body mass index, waist circumference, cholesterol, inflammation and oxidative stress. The beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables applied consistently to men and women, stroke outcome and by type of stroke (caused by clot or bleeding). Researchers found no significant difference in the effect on age (younger or older than 55).

The study has been published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke.

What are risk factors of stroke?

A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or blocked. Due to lack of blood supply, neurons (brain cells) in that particular part of the brain start dying within a couple of minutes. Therefore, stroke can have long-term impact on the body depending on the functions of the body controlled by the affected brain area.

Stroke can affect a person at any age but certain factors put you at a greater risk of suffering from a stroke. Here are they:

1. Age: Aging is one of the major risk factors for stroke. The risk is almost doubled with every decade after the age of 55 years. So a person who's 80-years old is 30 times likely to suffer a stroke compared to a 50 year old.

2. Family history: If you have a family member who has suffered a stroke then your chances raise slightly. This is because stroke can also be caused by a genetic mutation that results in damage to the blood vessels. If you have inherited this gene mutation from your parents then your chances of suffering from stroke increase.

3. Personal history: If you have had a stroke earlier in your life, you chance of suffering another one increases by 10 times compared to a person of the same age and gender who has not suffered a stroke. The annual risk of a subsequent stroke in survivors is almost 5%.

4. Gender: The relationship between gender and the occurrence of stroke is slightly complicated. Some studies mention that women are at a higher risk of stroke while other say men are likely to get affected. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, men are more likely to suffer from stroke than women at a younger age and women are more likely to die of a stroke than men. (Read: Stroke: 15 risk factors you should know)

With inputs from ANI

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