The simplest way to prevent a stroke

Do you know when most people worry about stroke risk factors? When it's too late -- after they've already had one, and are battling the crippling damage left behind.

Some people lose function in one or both arms. Some can't walk. Some stroke victims can't even speak, or do so only with great difficulty.

There are ways to help recover after a stroke, but that's a letter for another day.

Today, I want you to worry about your stroke risk factors.

More specifically, I want you to worry about lowering it so you never have to deal with post-stroke recovery -- and you can start by boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables, as new research finds that eating more fresh produce will slash your stroke risk by more than a fifth.

That's overall.

Eat more, however, and your risk will drop even further. Every additional 200 grams of fruits and vegetables you add to your diet could slash your stroke risk by 32 percent, according to the review of 20 studies involving a combined 760,629 men and women.

That's not a lot of extra fruits and vegetables. That's about 21 extra ounces a day, or roughly the equivalent of two smaller apples or one big one.

I didn't pick that example at random, either. Apples are actually one of the best foods you can add to your diet for reducing your stroke risk factors, according to the study.

Looks like an apple a day won't just keep the doctor away. It might keep the ambulance away, too.

Other top options for stroke prevention include pears, citrus fruits and leafy greens, according to the study.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is of course a healthy habit in general -- in part because when you eat fresh produce, you're not eating as much of the junk that can promote the clots that lead to stroke.

But fruits and vegetables help in other very specific ways, too. They're loaded with antioxidants, minerals and other nutrients that are essential to good circulation.

That's why diets rich in fresh produce are also terrific for heart protection and brain health -- and that's why I recommend a healthy Mediterranean diet, which includes all the fresh fruits and vegetables you can eat.

Not coincidentally, this diet is proven to cut your stroke risk factors nearly in half.

You can read more about that in this free report from my House Calls archives.