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Lower stroke risk found from eating apples and pears

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

If you're looking for a natural and tasty way to protect from stroke, new research suggests apples and pears might be good preventive medicine.

First study shows color of fruit may help prevent stroke

The health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is well known, but the study is the first to discover that eating fruit with a white edible portion could lower stroke risk by 52 percent. Another recent study shows potassium, found in abundance in bananas, can reduce the chances of stroke.

Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands published the finding in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

For their study, the researchers classified fruits and vegetables according to their color group, which also indicates different classes of phytochemicals that have been studied for their impact on promoting good health.

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Lettuce, cabbage and green leafy vegetables, red and purple colors, citrus fruits of the orange and yellow variety, and white colors of fruits were all studied by the researchers. Fifty-five percent of the white fruits were apples and pears.

The findings showed a 9 percent reduction in stroke risk for every 25 grams of apples, pears or white vegetable consumption added to the daily diet. The participants were followed for 10 years. Dietary intake was tracked using food frequency questionnaires.

According to Linda M. Oude Griep, M.Sc.,: "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. However, other fruits and vegetable color groups may protect against other chronic diseases. Therefore, it remains of importance to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables.

The study doesn’t show conclusively that apples and pears can lower stroke risk. The authors suggest more studies. People who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also practice other healthier lifestyle habits, accounting for the finding.

Apples, pears and other fruits in vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial health compounds. The study suggests apples, pears and other white fruits and vegetables may be good medicine for stroke prevention.

Stroke, AHA journal: doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.611152
“Colors of Fruit and Vegetables and 10-Year Incidence of Stroke”
Linda M. Oude Griep et al.

Image credit: morguefile