Can eating fruit help to reduce the risk of stroke? According to a study published in the journal Stroke, eating certain kinds of fruits may lower the risk of having a stroke, one of the most common causes of disability and death in the United States.
Eating Fruit to Reduce the Risk of Stroke
Not all fruits are the same when it comes to reducing the risk of stroke. When researchers followed more than 20,000 healthy, middle-aged Dutch adults for 10 years, they found that those who ate the most white fruits and vegetables were at a 52% lower risk of stroke. Other fruits and vegetables didn’t have the same degree of protection against stroke in this study.
White fruits and vegetables are ones that have a white interior. These include pears, apple, bananas, cauliflower and cucumber. In this study, apples and pears with their white, fleshy interior were the most protective against stroke.
The researchers in this study were careful to control for other factors that could have altered the risk of stroke in these individuals. Even when they controlled for total fruit and vegetable consumption, they still found a link between white fruits and vegetable consumption and a reduced risk of stroke.
This doesn’t mean that other fruits and vegetables aren’t good for you. Purple, yellow, red, orange and green vegetables are excellent source of antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds that are beneficial to health, but white fruits and veggies may have additional benefits when it comes to stroke protection.
Why White Fruits and Vegetables?
White fruits and vegetables, especially apples, are a good source of an antioxidant flavonol called quercetin. Some studies have linked quercetin with a lower risk of stroke and heart disease. Quercetin is also found in onions, parsley berries and red wine. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, quercetin lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure in humans. A big, juicy apple is one of the very best sources of quercetin, further confirming the old saying, “an apple a day.”
The Bottom Line?
It’s important to enjoy a rich array of fruits and vegetables. Choose fruits and veggies in a diversity of colors, but don’t forget to add white fruits and vegetables to the grocery cart. They may lower your blood pressure and help to reduce your risk of stroke. Stroke is on the rise among young people, and eating fewer salty foods and more white fruits could help protect against this disease that has such devastating consequences. Eat white fruits and veggies to your health.
J. Nutr. 137:2405-2411, November 2007.
Food Navigator-USA. “White Flesh Fruits Can Cut Stroke Risk 52%: 10-Year Study”