Five Fruit and Veg a Day 'Could Save You from a Stroke'

Article excerpt

Byline: JENNY HOPE

Healthy taste: The regime could prevent up to 40,000 strokes TENS of thousands of lives could be saved and cases of severe disability prevented if people simply ate more fruit and vegetables, a major study has revealed.

Consuming more than five portions a day can reduce the risk of stroke by a staggering 26 per cent compared with an intake of less than three servings, the findings show.

On average, Britons eat three portions of fruit and veg a day.

More than 150,000 people suffer a stroke every year with an estimated 67,000 dying as a result, making it the third most common cause of death in the UK.

Many more are left paralysed or unable to speak.

A quarter of a million Britons live with a severe disability caused by stroke. The findings emerged from an analysis of eight studies involving more than 257,000 participants in Europe, the U.S. and Japan. A team led by Dr Feng He, from St George's, University of London, pooled data comparing fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke incidence.

The results, published in The Lancet medical journal, show a clear association between increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and reduced stroke risk.

The study found the biggest benefit in stroke reduction among those who ate more than five portions a day, but did not specify an upper limit. Dr He said: 'The average fruit and vegetable intake in most developed countries is about three servings per day, and current recommendations encourage five or more servings per day.

'Our results provide strong support for these recommendations. If these goals were achieved, stroke morbidity (illness) and mortality would be greatly reduced. …