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Servings of fruits can help reduce the risk of stroke

Fruits have been heralded as very good ones nutritionally due to their numerous benefits and mineral and vitamin content. Eating fruit may reduce the risk of stroke, according to an article published in the Oct. 25 issue of Neurology//.

The article cited a meta-analysis of seven prospective studies, five from the US, one from Europe, and one from Japan. The study involved a total of 232,049 subjects - 90,513 men and 141,536 women - aged 25 to 103 years. The seven studies covered the period from 1970 to 2004.

For each serving of fruit consumed each day, the stroke risk was reduced by 11 percent. When fruits and vegetables were considered together, each serving consumed each day was associated with a 5 percent reduced risk of stroke.

However, the risk reduction was not significantly associated with vegetable consumption.

Researchers believe the risk may be reduced through the effects of fruit on blood pressure and high cholesterol. Previous studies have associated the stroke risk with high blood pressure and cholesterol.

A stroke is caused when the blood suddenly stops flowing to the brain. A stroke can result from vessel blockage (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). The damage can lead to paralysis, speech problems, loss of feeling, memory, coma and possibly death.

Ischemic stroke, which is responsible for 80 percent of strokes, can be caused by atherosclerosis (narrowing of the large arteries to the brain). Hemorrhagic stroke, which accounts for 20 percent of strokes, is caused by the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain.

The risk factors for strokes include high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat), diabetes, smoking, hyperlipidaemia (high fat in the blood), alcohol abuse, obesity and certain diseases or conditions.

In the US, about 750,000 people suffer a stroke per year and about 160,000 die from that stroke. Strokes are ranked as the th ird largest killer, only after heart disease and cancer.

Source: Neurology

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