Most everyone is aware that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help prevent disease. Now evidence shows that consuming foods that contain white flesh, like apples and pears, can dramatically lower the risk of developing a stroke.
Previous findings have already confirmed a strong association between a high consumption of fruits and vegetables and a lower risk of stroke, but a study appearing earlier this month in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association is the first to examine the connection between specific vegetable color groups and their effects on stroke. The particular color of a fruit or vegetable reflects the type of phytochemicals the plant contains, such as carotenoids and flavanoids.
For a period of ten years, scientists studied the relationship between fruits and vegetable color consumption in 20,000 adults and documented how many of these people had strokes during this time period. The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire that recorded the intake of fruits and vegetables which were categorized into four groups: green (dark leafy vegetables and lettuces), orange and yellow (mostly citrus fruits), red and purple (beets and red cabbage) and white (of which 55 percent were pears and apples).
All the participants were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study. After the ten-year period, 233 strokes were documented. The researchers found that the risk of stroke was 52 percent lower for those who had the highest intake of those fruits and vegetables that contained white flesh, compared with those who ate few foods in that color group.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that other fruit and vegetable color groups aren’t worth consuming. They may very well protect against other chronic, degenerative diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Therefore it remains important to include an abundance of all fruits and vegetables in the diet.