KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As we approach Mother's Day, some of her advice is ringing true again. New research finds eating more fruits and vegetables cuts the risk of a stroke.
Jo Ann Gillette had a stroke in late March. She didn't seek treatment until it was too late to prevent disability.
"Mainly it's taken away my freedom because I can't do hardly anything without having some of these gals help me," she said while in physical therapy at Saint Luke's Hospital.
The new analysis in the journal Stroke looked at studies of hundreds of thousands of people who did and didn't have strokes. For every seven ounces of fruit consumed a day, the stroke risk dropped by a third. It dropped 11 percent with every seven ounces of vegetables.
Dr. Karin Olds of Saint Luke's Neuroscience Institute suspects it has to do with what you're not eating when you are downing fruits and veggies.
"A diet higher in fruits and vegetables tends to be lower in fats and carbohydrates so the body mass index and the weight and the waist circumference and those types of things are generally lower," said the neurologist.
That lowers the risk of stroke. Also, those colorful foods have antioxidants which reduce inflammation that can lead to strokes.
"Eat 'em, eat 'em, eat 'em, eat 'em," said Gillette, a great-grandmother.
Dr. Olds agrees.
"I think sometimes we depend too much on treating entities with medications and so forth," she said.
This week, the FDA advised against taking aspirin for prevention of strokes and heart attacks in people without known cardiovascular disease. The FDA said the risk of internal bleeding outweighed benefits. Eating fruits and veggies doesn't have that risk.