Eating more fruits and vegetables could reduce the risk of stroke worldwide, with stroke risk decreasing as consumption increases. The findings were published online in the journal Stroke.

Yan Qu, MD, from the Qingdao Municipal Hospital in Qingdao, China, and colleagues analyzed 20 previous studies from the U.S., Europe, and Asia on 16,981 stroke events from 760,629 patients. Stroke risk declined by 32% with every 200g of fruit consumed daily and 11% with every 200g of vegetables. The positive effects were seen consistently in both men and women and no significant different among age groups. The inverse association between stroke risk and consumption was evident with citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and apples/pears, but not cruciferous vegetables, onion/leek/garlic, root vegetables, and berries. According to the World Health Organization, 600g of fruits and vegetables each day could reduce the burden of ischemic stroke by 19% across the world.

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The study authors pose that the reduction of stroke risk could be due to lowered blood pressure and improvement in microvascular function with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as positive effects on body mass index, waist circumference, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

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