I read an article the other day citing a Dutch study stating that fruits and vegetables whose fleshy sections are white may lower your risk of stroke more than other fruits and vegetables. Every 25 grams consumed per day led to a 9 percent decrease in the risk of stroke, according to a study published in the latest issue of the journal Stroke. Apples and pears, the white fleshy fruit most commonly consumed by the study subjects, weigh about 140 to 150 grams each, for a small size. I eat an apple 4-5 times per week, but did not know about this protective stroke benefit until now.

Green, orange/yellow and red/purple fruits did not confer the same benefits relating to stroke. If you have a history of stroke issues in your family tree, include apples, pears, apple juice, applesauce, bananas, cauliflower, chicory, cucumber, and mushrooms to your diet.

Other precautions to take to prevent stroke include eating a diet low in saturated fats, low-sodium, and avoiding tobacco. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Exercise, and keep your weight under control. If you are at risk of stroke, or have had a small one (TIA), nattokinase is a natural blood thinner, an excellent option for those on any of the pharmaceuticals like coumadin (Warfarin).

Key nutrients for different age groups. Eating nutrient-rich foods-fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, is critical whatever your age group. But as we age, toss issues like arthritis into the mix, and getting the right nutrients could dramatically improve the quality of your life.

For the under 30 crowd: Bone mass peaks at 30, so it’s important to get enough calcium and vitamin D to build your bone bank as big as possible. Eat calcium rich foods like broccoli, kale, bok choy, and calcium-fortified cereals and juices.

For 30 to 50: Iron is a major concern for women in their childbearing years, and inadequate iron is of concern to anyone with arthritis, as low levels sap energy. Persons with rheumatoid arthritis are also prone to anemia. Fuel up with lean meats, beans, seeds, and eat plenty of tomatoes, broccoli, citrus, and other vitamin C-rich foods.

50 to 70: Omega-3s are more and more important as we age, and heart disease becomes a greater concern. Omega-3s not only reduce inflammation and joint pain, they may also help prevent irregular heartbeat. Eat at least two servings per week of sardines, salmon (wild caught), mackerel, and  herring can reduce your risk of heart disease by 36 percent, according to a study in Current Atherosclerosis Reports. Tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, olives, and their oils, are other good choices.

70+: Vitamin D is one of the most deficient nutrients in this age group. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D may also reduce chronic pain and cancer risk, and guard against heart disease. The RDA is currently 800 IU per day, but most doctors I know recommend 2,000 IU’s per day. Get some sun, salmon, fortified milk ¬†and cereals. If you get a supplement, make sure it’s D3 (cholecalciferol), which is more effective.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.