Eat Apples and Pears to Cut Your Stroke Risk in Half
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America, affecting nearly one million people and taking the lives of 150,000 each year.Researchers publishing in the American Heart Association journal Stroke have found that increased consumption of white fleshy vegetables and fruits such as apples and pears leads to a dramatic decline in both incidence and death from a stroke.
This study is the first to differentiate between different colors in fruits and vegetables and the risk for developing a specific disease or illness. Beneficial phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids found in the white flesh and skin of apples and pears can dramatically lower your risk of suffering the devastating physical damage caused by a stroke.
Skin and Flesh of White Fruits and Vegetables Shown to Lower Stroke Risk
Nutrition scientists have long known that the brightly colored skin and flesh of fruits and vegetables confer the health benefits normally associated with eating these foods. To further examine this link, researchers examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable color group consumption and contrasted with 10-year stroke incidence in a cohort of 20,069 adults, with an average age of 41. Participants were disease free at the outset of the study and were asked to complete a 178-item food frequency questionnaire detailing foods consumed over the past year.
Fruit and vegetable consumption was broken into four distinct groups, based on pigment color: Green, including dark leafy vegetables, orange/yellow, mostly citrus fruits, red/purple, mostly red vegetables and white, of which 55 percent were apples and pears. Follow up proceeded for a period of ten years during which time 233 strokes were confirmed. Green, orange/yellow and red/purple varieties of fruits and vegetables were found to have no correlation to stroke incidence.
Stroke Risk Is Reduced in a Dose-Dependent Manner with Apple and Pear Consumption
White fleshed fruits and vegetables demonstrated a 52% lower incidence of stroke over the ten-year period when those consuming the highest amounts were compared to the group with the lowest intake. The researchers found that each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of stroke (the average apple is 120 grams).
The lead study author from Wageningen University in the Netherlands concluded, “To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables… For example, eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetable intake.” Apples and pears are high in a nutrient known as quercetin and fiber that may convey part of the stroke risk reduction. It’s critical to eat a diet packed with fruits and vegetables of all colors to take advantage of the unique disease-fighting characteristics to be uncovered for a multitude of different carotenoids and flavonoids in future research studies.
John Phillip is a diet, health and nutrition researcher and writer with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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Article updated on: January 21st, 2012