The adage of 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' has more merit given a new study that reveals eating vegetables and fruits can keep the risk of a heart stroke down.

The research effort focused on consumption of fruits and vegetables and the impact to heart stroke risk. Results indicate that eating citrus fruits, apples/pears, and leafy vegetables might contribute to the protection of the heart. The risk decreases by 32 percent for every 200 grams per day of fruit and 11 percent for 200 grams intake of vegetables.

The news comes as Americans are striving to be more conscious of weight, health and nutrition issues as evidenced by growing interest in mobile healthcare devices and apps that promise to helps users track everything from walking steps to blood sugar levels.

The study was done by researchers at the Intensive Care Unit of Qingdao Municipal Hospital in Qingdao, in China. The full report is available here.

According to the report the research effort included assessment of 20 studies in the past 18 years on stroke risk and fruit and vegetable intake.

Factors not taken into consideration include lifestyle habits, such as smoking, gender or diet in specific regions.

"Improving diet and lifestyle is critical for heart and stroke risk reduction in the general population," states a release on the study. "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."

The release states that according to the World Health Organization, eating 600 grams of fruits and vegetables per day could decrease the risk of stroke by 19 percent. Adults should be eating four to five servings of vegetables and fruit each day, according to the American Heart Association. 

The research was published on May 8 in Stroke.

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