Eating more fruits and veggies may slice stroke risk by nearly a third, according to new meta-analysis.
“The findings are consistent with the current knowledge that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged to prevent stroke,” Dr. Yan Qu, of the Quinqdao Municipal Hospital and the Medical College of Qingdao University in China, the study’s leader, told Reuters.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Seeking a better understanding of the relationship between stroke risk and plants in the diet, the researchers searched for data from recent decades that tracked the eating habits of people around the world. They found 20 studies that examined a total of 760,629 patients that fit their bill.
Overall, people who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 21 percent less likely to have a stroke, compared to the people who ate the lowest amounts. The benefits rose along with the amount of product consumed. Risk of stroke fell by 32 percent for every 200 grams per day of fruit eaten, and 11 percent with every 200 grams of vegetables.
Which plants were the most powerful? Citrus fruits, leafy veggies and apples and pears.
The researchers noted that they couldn’t say for certain that eating plants caused fewer strokes. There could be other factors, for example, people who eat more fruits and vegetables may lead generally healthier lives.
The study was published in the journal Stroke.