Stroke: The cholesterol-lowering fruit that could ‘halve’ your risk of having a stroke

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A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is suddenly obstructed. To prevent such events from happening, patients are routinely prescribed medication. One fruit, however, may carry out these protective effects naturally. Alongside other white-fleshed fruits, pears could lower the risk of stroke by up to half.

The incidence of stroke in the UK is high, but a number of preventative measures can curb the risk of the condition.

Research has long highlighted the many benefits of daily fruit intake for cardiovascular health.

It is believed that fruits of certain colours, however, may lower the risk of having a stroke by half when consumed regularly.

White-fleshed fruits and vegetables, in particular, may significantly reduce the odds of having a stroke due to their unique antioxidants.

READ MORE: Stroke warning: The healthy breakfast item linked to a ‘higher risk’ of having a stroke

Pears have also been shown to have powerful lowering effects on blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, thanks to their natural fibre, known as pectin.

Harvard Health says: “Pears are a good source of fibre and several beneficial plant compounds (phytochemicals), including catechin.

“Also found in apples and cocoa, catechin may help lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel health and discourage blood clots.”

In 2011, a group of Dutch researchers probing the benefits of pears suggested fruits with the highest phytochemical content could protect the brain against stroke.

The lead of author of the study, Linda M Oude Griep, said: “To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables.

“For example eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetable intake.

“However, other fruits and vegetable colour groups may protect against other chronic diseases. Therefore it remains of importance to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables.”

For their study, researchers studied a cohort of more than 20,000 adults, with an average age of 41.

None of the subjects had a history of cardiovascular disease a the outset of the study.

The researchers closely analysed consumption of apples and pears, which are both high in dietary fibre and flavonoids called quercetin.

During the 10-year follow-up period, a total of 233 strokes were documented.

Findings revealed the incidence of stroke was 52 percent lower for those with a high intake of white fruits and vegetables, compared to those with a low intake.

The team determined that the risk of stroke lowered by 9 percent with each 25 grams of white fruit and vegetables consumed per day.

Heike Wersching, of the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the University of Münster in Germany, added: “The observed reduction in stroke risk might further be due to a generally healthier lifestyle of individuals consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.”

Other studies have highlighted the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style diet to lower the risk of stroke.

This reduced risk, however, is more significant for women than it is for men.

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