HEALTHY LIVING

An Apple A Day Could Keep Strokes At Bay

09/15/2011 11:58 pm 23:58:26 | Updated Nov 16, 2011

You've always heard that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Turns out, it could keep strokes away, too.

New research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association showed that the risk of stroke decreases by 9 percent for every 25 grams eaten a day of a white-fleshed fruit, like apples or pears.

That means if you eat an apple or pear a day (average size of 100 to 125 grams each), you can possibly decrease your risk of stroke by 36 to 45 percent, The Telegraph reported.

That's likely because white-fleshed fruits are high in a chemical called quercetin. Quercetin is known to reduce inflammation in the body, which could be important in warding off strokes because inflammation is linked with hardened arteries that are characteristic of heart disease, according to The Telegraph.

In the study, researchers tracked the fruit and vegetable consumption of 20,069 adults (average age of 40) over 10 years. Everyone in the study was free of heart disease at the beginning of the study period.

Researchers asked everyone in the study to fill out a questionnaire detailing the types of fruits and vegetables they ate, including green produce (dark, leafy veggies), orange and yellow produce (citrus), red and purple produce (red vegetables) and white produce (55 percent of which was comprised of apples and pears; potatoes were considered a starch, and not put in these category).

After the 10-year period, 233 people had strokes. Researchers didn't find any association between the green, orange and yellow or red and purple produce and stroke risk, but they did find that stroke incidence among people who ate a lot of white-fleshed produce was 52 percent lower than people who didn't eat that many of the fruits.

The other white-fleshed fruits include bananas, cucumbers, cauliflower and chicory.

But take this news with a great of salt -- it's possible that people who ate the most white-fleshed fruits could also just lead a healthier lifestyle, in general, than the other people in the study, thereby leading to a lower stroke risk, outside experts wrote in an accompanying editorial to the study.

White-fleshed produce isn't the only food linked with lower stroke risk -- olive oil has also been shown to reduce the risk, according to research published earlier this year in the journal Neurology. And a review of 15 studies, that also appears this month in Stroke, shows that eating three servings of fish a week can lower the risk of stroke by 6 percent.

Dr. Daniel Seidman, Ph.D., of Columbia University, also offered these six ways to reduce your risk of stroke.

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