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Fruits and Vegetables will Reduce Risk of Stroke - Study says Good for High Blood Pressure as well

January 27th 2006

Fruits and Vegetables will Reduce Risk of Stroke - Study says Good for High Blood Pressure as well

Five servings per day

The more fruits and vegetables you eat the lower your risk of stroke, according to a new analysis of studies. Eating three servings a day will reduce the risk of stroke, but eating five or more will produce an even greater protective effect. 

Earlier studies indicated that consuming more than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day will help lower blood pressure.  High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke.  Earlier studies have shown that the “Dash Diet” has lowered blood pressure, so it is no surprise that the risk for stroke is also lessened.

Increasing you consumption of fruits and vegetables is good for the heart and other organs for several reasons.  First off, by eating more fruits and veggies you are likely to reduce the consumption of foods with high fat.  You will eat less desert and red meat.


Also, the fiber found in fruits and vegetables will bind to cholesterol and help remove it from your body.  In a BBC report Dr. Feng He said that including these foods in your diet will “likely” further reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

It is estimated that Western developed countries eat three servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  According to HealthDay News, a serving can be a piece of fruit or a half cup of vegetables.  Dr. Richard L. Harvey, medical director of Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, told HealthDay “A salad can be a couple of servings." Even a glass of orange juice can qualify.

Harvey went on to say it is important to develop a consistent eating pattern.  He said “Getting into a habit of how you eat properly can change your lifestyle."


A researcher that worked on the study, Professor Graham MacGregor, told the BBC, "It is a very important finding because it really shows that the quantity of fruit and vegetables you should be eating is more than five a day."

Besides the antioxidants, the researchers believe potassium may be the most important factor in preventing a stroke.  It is known that potassium can lower blood pressure.  According to the BBC report, by increasing your intake from three servings to five servings, you increase your potassium intake by about 50%.

The downside of potassium is that it can cause heart arrhythmias or fatal heart attacks.  The National Kidney Foundation website states “If your potassium becomes too high, it can cause an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack.” 


Look on your potassium supplements; you will notice that that each pill contains just a couple percent of your daily requirement.  You don’t want to take too much potassium.

The complete study can be found in this issue of The Lancet.

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By Dan Wilson
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:49 PM