A new US review claims that a higher intake of fruit and vegetables (three to five servings per day) has been found to exert a protective effect against stroke.
To evaluate the impact of nutrition on stroke risk, the systematic review looked for scientific publications providing solid evidence for a potential link (1). The results showed that a consumption of three to five servings of fruit and vegetables per day was associated with reduced stroke risk compared to consumption of less than three servings per day. Not enough research was available to provide support for the benefits of other food groups and dietary regimens, such as soy products, whole grains, animal and dairy proteins, and dietary programs or patterns such as vegetarian or vegan diets.
The researchers commented that variable findings were observed, for example, for fish, animal products, and whole grains. However, the lack of consistent correlations between consumption of these food groups and stroke can be explained by the fact that normally, insufficient numbers of cases are examined in studies of this type, giving the results low statistical power. The scientists conceded that due to the synergistic interaction of nutrients, it would be difficult to pinpoint specific nutrients as risk factors for stroke. Thus, future research, particularly clinical trials, should also focus on developing stroke prevention recommen-dations based on food groups and dietary patterns that are palatable and comprehensible to the general public.