HealthDay News – Consuming fruits and vegetables is inversely associated with the risk of stroke, according to research published in Stroke.

“Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for cardiovascular risk reduction in the general population,” wrote Dan Hu, MD, and researchers. “In particular, a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is highly recommended.”

After conducting a literature review to identify prospective cohort studies assessing the correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of stroke, researchers found that the multivariable relative risk of stroke was 0.79 for the highest versus the lowest category of fruit and vegetable consumption.

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Based on 20 studies involving 16,81 stroke events among 760,629 participants, researchers found that for fruit and vegetable intake, the relative risks were 0.77 and 0.86 respectively.  These inverse associations were consistent in subgroup analyses.

Citrus fruits, apples/pears and leafy vegetables were suggested to contribute to the protective effect. For every 200 g per day increment in fruit consumption (P=0.77), and vegetable consumption (P=0.62), the risk of stroke decreased by 32% and 11%, respectively.

“Higher fruit and vegetable intake increases micronutrient, carbohydrate and fiber intakes, and possibly reduces fat intakes,” wrote the researchers. “Nutrients such as potassium, folate, antioxidants and fiber have been shown to be significantly associated with a reduced risk for stroke.”


  1. Hu, D et al. Stroke. 2014; doi: 10.1161/​STROKEAHA.114.004836