Suppose I told you that you might be able to head off a stroke simply by “color-coding” your fruit?
You’d probably write me off as being a bit of kook, right? Well, it turns out that the idea isn’t quite as kooky as it might sound.
Let me explain….
We already know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of having a stroke. But when researchers in Holland looked at how specific color groups of produce relate to a person’s stroke risk they stumbled onto something interesting.
And what they uncovered could translate into a huge drop in your risk for stroke, too.
Fruits and veggies fell into 4 different groups
The Dutch researchers examined the data from a population study of 20,00 heart-disease-free adults with an average age of 41. They had the volunteers complete a 178-item food frequency questionnaire that categorized how often they ate certain fruits and vegetables categorized into four different color groups…
Included dark leafy vegetables, lettuces and cabbages.
2. Orange or Yellow:
Included mostly citrus fruits.
3. Red or Purple:
Included mostly red vegetables.
Was made up of of 55 percent apples and pears.
During the 10-year follow up period 233 strokes were recorded in the volunteer group. But it’s when the scientists dove into the ten years worth of data that things really got interesting.
Stroke risk slashed 52% with “white” fruits & veggies
One “color-coded” group stood head and shoulders (or perhaps that should be leaf and steam) above the rest.
The researchers found that the risk of stroke was a stunning 52 percent lower for those volunteers who regularly chowed down on fruits and vegetables in the white group, compared to those folks who didn’t eat much of the light-colored produce.
In fact, they found that for every 25-gram per day increase in the amount of white fruits and vegetables that were eaten there was a corresponding drop of 9 percent in stroke risk.
Another study, published in the journal Stroke echoed those findings. When researchers took a deeper dive into the results of twenty different studies they concluded that eating 200 grams of fruit—or the equivalent of two small apples—a day could slash your stroke risk by a third.
Heart friendly compounds could protect your heart
More research needs to be done to find out exactly what elements of the white fruits and veggies are responsible for the impressive protective effect the researchers saw, but we do already know that apples and pears are rich in several heart-healthy elements including antioxidants quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid as well as dietary fiber.
Quercetin is a powerful flavonoid that helps your body fight off the effects of aging and inflammation, which makes it a natural for fighting the atherosclerosis that can lead to heart problems or stroke. In a randomized double blind clinical trial quercetin was shown to significantly reduce systolic blood pressure.
And data from the Women’s Health Study on nearly 40,000 women confirms a link between eating more flavonoids and a lower risk of heart disease. In fact, the women who ate apples had a 13 to 22 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
The bottom line is that there’s really no reason to wait around for more research. You can start reaping the benefits of these findings right away simply by eating more white fruits and vegetables including…
Sorry potato lovers, spuds were NOT included on the list.
Oh, and of course be sure to continue to eat lots of good-for-you fruits and veggies from all of the other color groups as well.
“Colors of Fruit and Vegetables and 10-Year Incidence of Stroke,” Stroke, 2011
“Flavonoid intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women,” Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jun;77(6):1400-8
“Effects of Apple Consumption on Lipid Profile of Hyperlipidemic and Overweight Men,” Int J Prev Med. 2011 Apr-Jun; 2(2): 94–100
“Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits,” Nutr J. 2004; 3: 5
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