Fruits, veggies and vitamin E combine to slash risk of stroke and premature death

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(NaturalNews) Nutrition researchers have written volumes over the past decade to clearly demonstrate how foods eaten in their natural and unprocessed states, combined with healthy lifestyle choices, can significantly cut the risk of virtually all chronic diseases that lead millions of unsuspecting people to early deaths. Epigenetic studies have shown that our genetic structure is not static and set in stone from birth, but, rather, is positively or negatively influenced by the quality of each calorie we consume, our lifestyle choices and our environment. It comes as no surprise to most health conscious individuals that the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables and certain vitamins can have a profound effect on a person's risk for having a stroke or a decreased lifespan.

Researchers conducting a meta-analysis of 20 studies over the past 19 years have published the results of their findings in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. These findings show that by increasing one's fruit and vegetable intake, one can dramatically lower his incidence of vascular diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease and stroke. The scientists noted that while the occurrence of strokes has declined over the past 40 years in higher income countries due to an increased emphasis on eating more fruits and vegetables, the mortality rates from strokes continue to rise in lower income parts of the world where fresh produce is costly and not readily available.

Fruits and vegetables improve critical metabolic parameters to lower stroke risk

Members of the study team found a 32% decrease in stroke risk for every 200 g of fruits (approximately three to four half-cup servings) and an 11% decrease in stroke risk for every 200 g of vegetables (roughly five servings) consumed daily. Lead study author Dr. Yan Qu noted that "improving diet and lifestyle [are] critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population. In particular, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is highly recommended because it meets micronutrient and macronutrient and fiber requirements without adding substantially to overall energy requirements." Specifically the meta-analysis concluded that eating fruits and vegetables lowers blood pressure and systemic body inflammation as well as yields improvements to microvascular function, body mass index, cholesterol ratios and oxidative stress.

In an independent study, researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center looked to find a natural agent that not only helped treat the damaging effects of a stroke after it had occurred, but could actually help lower the risk of a catastrophic vascular event. Lead investigator Dr. Cameron Rink and his team focused on a specific vitamin E isomer or tocotrienol, which has been associated with a lowered risk of functional decline in Alzheimer's patients. Tocotrienols are known to block cholesterol production in the liver and beneficially alter healthy cholesterol ratios.

Using an animal model for their study, the scientists determined that after ten weeks of vitamin E tocotrienol supplementation, the natural compound stimulated arteriogenesis, an increase in the diameter of existing arteries in response to oxygen demand. This process can prevent brain damage, as it effectively offers a secondary or collateral blood supply. Rink concluded "we think that tocotrienol helps improve the function of collaterals, which would offer someone better protection from an initial or secondary stroke." This research provides yet another compelling reason to include seven to nine combined daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to lower the risk of stroke and a host of chronic diseases.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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