There’s an old nugget of wisdom that says to stay healthy you should steer clear of white foods. And while there’s a bit of truth to it, as there is in many old wives’ tales, it’s not entirely accurate.
Refined white flour and sugar should stay on the forbidden list. And it’s a good idea to at least limit white potatoes (and when you do eat them be sure to eat the skins too).
But if you want to eat some plain Greek yogurt, help yourself. It’s tasty and good for you. Coconut oil, which is white when solid, is a great choice for cooking your favorite meals. And as I’ve told you before, fresh popcorn made the old fashioned way is a perfectly healthy snack.
But Dutch scientists say there are a few other white foods you should definitely keep on the menu. In fact, according to the researchers eating more of these foods may even slash your stroke risk by more than half.
The huge study followed over 20,000 middle-aged men and women for 10 years. At the start of the study, none of the volunteers had any signs of heart disease.
The researchers had each recruit fill out an extensive questionnaire about their eating habits. The scientists wanted to know specifically about the kinds and amounts of fruits and vegetables the volunteers ate in the year leading up to the study.
Each of the fruits and vegetables were classified by color into one of four groups…
- green (including dark leafy greens and cabbages)
- white (produce with white flesh)
- red or purple (mostly red veggies)
- orange or yellow (mostly citrus fruits)
The researchers then monitored the health of the volunteers for the next 10 years.
White produce linked to 52% lower stroke risk
During the study, 233 of the volunteers went on to suffer a stroke. But the men and women who ate the most “white” foods were 52 percent less likely to suffer a stroke compared to volunteers who ate the least.
And some number crunching revealed that for each 25 grams a day of white food eaten a volunteer’s stroke risk dropped another nine percent. While green, red, purple orange and yellow produce didn’t appear linked to stroke risk.
Six “white” fruits and veggies stood out from the crowd….
The apples and pears led the pack with 55 percent of all the white foods eaten being one or the other.
Slice stroke risk by 45% with a daily apple
You know how they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Well I can’t swear to that, but it does look like an apple (or pear) a day could help keep a stroke away. The researchers credit the phytochemicals in the white flesh of these two fruits with protecting us against strokes.
And remember how I said eating just 25 grams per day of white produce is linked to a nine percent drop in stroke risk? Well, the average apple weight around 120 grams.
Which means by eating just one medium sized apple a day you could cut your own stroke risk by up to 45 percent. In other words, while green, red, and purple veggies tend to get the most attention, white produce deserves praise too.
Keep in mind this was an observational study, so it doesn’t prove cause and effect. But the study’s lead author was still so impressed with the findings she said, “To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables.”
And if you’ve ever waded your way through a dry study, you know that’s pretty enthusiastic talk for a researcher.
But lowering stroke risk isn’t the only way apples and pears can help keep you healthy.
Apples and pears contain powerful antioxidants
Both apples and pears contain a powerful antioxidant called quercetin.
Emerging evidence suggests quercetin could help slow the growth of cancer cells, especially in the colon. And the nutrient appears to encourage the normal turnover of cells in your body.
We call this process apoptosis, or cell death. Cancer cells don’t undergo apoptosis, as they should. Instead, they just keep replicating and growing.
Other studies have found quercetin could help fight prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and heart disease.
Apples are naturally anti-inflammatory. And the phytonutrients, flavonoids and antioxidants found in them may help reduce your risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. And pears are packed with free-radical fighting vitamin D and cholesterol regulating pectin.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables of all colors is good for you. But be sure to go ahead and add these six “forbidden” foods to your menu. Because eating lots of organic white fruits and veggies could send your stroke risk plummeting.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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