Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Fruit and Others May Help Prevent Strokes

Despite the misleading weather forecast, fall was distinctly in the air today. And with the crisp fall temperatures come equally crisp and delightful fall fruits as well as hearty fall veggies. Many varieties of apples and pears are coming into their peak of perfection around this time which is great news, not only for crumble and pie lovers. According to new research, apples, pears and other white-fleshed fruits and veg may hold the key to stroke prevention for some individuals.

In a dutch study comparing diets high in fruits and veg with specifically coloured flesh (not the skin) - red/ purple, orange/yellow, green and white - it was found that white-fleshed foods reduced the participants' risk of having a stroke. For every 25g increase in white-fleshed food consumption, including cauliflower, apples, pears, bananas and cucumbers, the participants' stroke risk was 0.91 times lower over a 10 year follow-up period.

The researchers attribute the decrease in stroke risk to the fact that the particular foods used in the study, as well as white-fleshed fruits and vegetables in general, tend to be high in fibre and flavinoids, particularly one called quercetin. Fibre and flavinoids, which are a group of antioxidants, have traditionally been associated with a lower stroke risk.

Despite the fact that the foods in the other colour groups were also high in fibre and different antioxidants, there was no association seen with a decreased stroke risk. However, since variety, balance and moderation are key factors in good health and overall disease prevention, mixing and matching the colours of your fruit and vegetables is a great idea.

We know that dark green, red, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables have all been associated with a decreased risk of some disease or another, so they're still completely necessary in our diets. The only real reason someone might want to start amping up on eating way more white-fleshed foods is if they were predisposed to having a stroke or there is a family history of strokes. That or simply because they're so darn delicious right now and an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Either one works. Now where's my pie?