Apples, Bananas, Pears, Cauliflower, Cucumbers May Reduce Stroke Risk

apples bananas pears fruit bowl

A newly published 10-year study by Dutch researchers found that people who ate a lot of white-fleshed fruits and vegetables, like apples and pears, had a 52% lower risk of stroke. The study was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association and included 20,069 people between the age 20 and 65.

Here’s more from WebMD:

The researchers found that each 25-gram daily increase of white fruits and vegetables was associated with a 9% lower risk of stroke. To put that in context, a single apple is about 120 grams.

“To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables,” Linda M. Oude Griep, MSc, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, says in a news release.

She says an apple a day “is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetable intake,” but  because other fruits and vegetable color groups also protect against chronic diseases, it’s important to eat a lot of different fruits and vegetables.

Good news on the white-fleshed fruits, but I like that the lead researcher was clear to point out that other fruits and vegetables provide other benefits as well. I certainly get into a routine of eating just a couple fruits or vegetables most of the time, but there are so many different fruits and vegetables out there, each with their own unique mixture of benefits, that I think trying to eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables is really important.

With apples and bananas being some of the most popular fruits, I’m sure you eat those. Here’s one more reason to feel good about that, and to skip the next candy bar and go for one for them instead. (Tip: If you don’t particularly love these fruits plain, I especially love them with some sort of nut butter — peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, etc — or tahini.)

Of course, the researchers pointed out that more studies need to be conducted to confirm their findings, but the results look good so far in this rather large project.

Colors in Fruits and Vegetables

The study, as you might have gathered, was centered around colors in fruits. The colors represent phytochemicals (plant compounds). These researchers divided the foods into 4 groups based on color:

  1. Green (dark leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens, cabbages, and lettuces)
  2. Orange-Yellow (e.g. citrus)
  3. Red-Purple (e.g. beets)
  4. White (mostly pears and apples, but also others, like those mentioned above)

The whole idea is pretty cool to me. I hope more color-based studies pop up soon with more interesting insights like this.

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