Fruits and vegetables may reduce risk of stroke
October 5, 1999
Web posted at: 4:00 p.m. EST (2000 GMT)
(CNN) -- Eating six servings of fruits or vegetables a day may help reduce the risk of stroke more than 30 percent, according to a newly released study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The study, published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), surveyed the eating habits and medical records of more than 114,000 people over several years. Lead author Kaumudi Joshipura and colleagues found those people who ate the most fruits and vegetables daily had a 31 percent lower risk of the most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood clots.
A higher risk of stroke was associated with those people who ate fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
"Fruits and vegetables have many components that probably contribute to a reduction in stroke. For example, they contain a number of vitamins, like vitamin C and they contain folic acid which we have good evidence helps reduce risk of blood vessel disease," Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health said.
Participants were able to reduce their risk of stroke by 6 percent with each serving of fruits or vegetables they ate daily, but researchers did not find any further reduction in risk beyond six servings a day.
The lowest risk of ischemic stroke was found with high consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts; green leafy vegetables, such as spinach; and citrus fruits.
Researchers studied 75,596 women between they ages of 34 and 59 over a 14 year period as part of the Nurses' Health Study, and 38,683 men between 40 and 75 years-old for eight years as part of the Health Professional's Follow-Up Study.
All study participants were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes at the start of the study.
The authors did recognize that the study participants may lead healthier lifestyles than the general population. While by some estimates the average American consumes only two and a half servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the study participants' median consumption was more than the recommended five servings a day for both men and women.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the State of Florida Department of Citrus. According to the authors, the findings support previous research done in the U.S. and Japan.
Medical Correspondent Linda Ciampa contributed to this story.
Low doses of aspirin may
help some prevent stroke
September 3, 1999
Quick stroke treatment has lasting benefits, study shows
June 9, 1999
Vitamin E may reduce risk of stroke
April 20, 1999
cholesterol may lead to strokes, study finds
arteries may indicate risk of stroke, heart attack
Quick treatment could cut stroke toll
Harvard School of Public Health
National Institutes of Health
Florida Department of Citrus
Journal of the American Medical Association
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
American Academy of Neurology
Stroke Prevention Guidelines Introduction
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too