An Apple a Day May Keep the Cardiologist Away

It is well known that fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to improve blood pressure and cholesterol.  However, according to a research article in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers have taken it a step further to determine exactly which fruits and vegetables are associated with a decreased risk of stroke.

The researchers of this study classified fruits and vegetables into four color groups: Green, Orange/Yellow, Red/Purple and White.  They used color as a way to put foods into groupings because produce of similar colors tend to have a similar nutrient compositions (i.e. green fruits and vegetables tend to have similar vitamins, minerals and antioxidants).  The resarchers had ~20,000 people without cardiovascular disease fill out a questionnaire stating how frequently they ate various fruits and vegetables, and then they followed them for 10 years to track their incidence of stroke.  What did they conclude?   Surprisingly, hey found that people who had a high intake of WHITE fruits and vegetables had 52% lower incidence of stroke than people who had a low intake of white fruits and vegetables.

The researchers in this study believe that increasing white fruit and vegetable consumption by 25 grams per day may lower the risk of stroke by 9%.  This may be because these fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and a flavonoid called quercetin.  The following is a list of some common white fruits and vegetables used in the study:

Fruit/ Vegetable Typical Serving Size Weight in Grams
Apple 1 Medium 138 gm
Pear 1 Medium 166 gm
Banana 1 Medium 118 gm
Cauliflower ½ Cup Raw 50 gm
Cucumber ½ Cup Sliced= 50 gm

This type of study cannot determine cause and effect relationships but it can help to notice trends.  Although more research is needed in order to make specific recommendations on the quantities and types of produce that can help reduce the risk of stroke the most, it can’t hurt to make sure you’re putting some white produce in your cart each week at the grocery store.  While you’re at it, you may want to look for something red, green and orange to put in your cart as well.  After all, if you get a rainbow of colors, you will get a rainbow of nutrients and each one has its own health benefits and protective measures.

For more information you can click here to see last week’s article in Science Daily News.