Recipe for Preventing Stroke
Fruits, veggies, and exercise aid stroke prevention
Sept. 18, 2003 -- There's more evidence: Eating right and getting regular
exercise is a good stroke prevention strategy and now researchers can say this
strategy can also reduce death from stroke.
Two studies on the subject appear in the Sept. 19 rapid access issue of
Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Green, Yellow Help Most
Fruits and vegetables were key to getting the dietary advantage, reports
researcher Catherine Sauvaget, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Radiation
Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan.
Her study tracks the health of nearly 40,000 Japanese men and women from
1980 to 1998. At the start of the study, each volunteer completed a detailed
questionnaire about foods they ate regularly.
Sauvaget also tracked the number of stroke deaths during the 18-year study
period, finding 1926 deaths.
- Almost-daily consumption of green and yellow vegetables reduced the risk of
death from a stroke by 26% compared with intakes of once or less per week.
- Of the 2 types of stroke researchers saw, strokes caused by blood clots
(infarction), rather than a rupture of a brain vessel (hemorrhage), had a more
protective effect from diets rich in fruits and vegetables. With this type of
diet, a reduced risk of death from stroke was seen in 32% of men and 30% in
- Almost-daily fruit intake reduced the risk of death from stroke by 35% in
men and 25% in women.
Regular Exercise Works
Physical activity helps the heart, but whether it helps in stroke prevention
or in reducing the risks of death from a stroke has been unclear. In this
study, researchers pool the results of 23 studies published during the last 40
years, from 1966 to 2002.
- Moderately active people had a 20% lower risk of stroke and stroke death
compared with inactive people.
- Highly active people had a 27% reduced risk in stroke and death from stroke
compared with inactive or unfit people.
Both groups had less risk of two types of stroke -- ischemic (due to
blockage) and hemorrhagic (bleeding) -- than those who were sedentary, reports
Chong Do Lee, EdD, a sports and exercise science researcher with West Texas
A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
Clearly, lifestyle changes can go a long way in stroke prevention,