Natural Health Tips

Apples and Pears Associated With Reducing Stroke Risk

A Dutch study has concluded that that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables with white flesh, such as apples and pears, is linked to protecting against stroke.

While previous studies have linked high consumption of fruits and vegetables with lower stroke risk, the researchers' prospective work is the first to examine associations of fruits and vegetable color groups with stroke.

The color of the edible portion of fruits and vegetables reflects the presence of beneficial phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids. Phytonutrients are responsible for characteristics of plants such as their color, flavor and smell. In general, similar-colored foods contain many of the same phytonutrients and therefore have similar healing properties.

Study Details

The research, published in Stroke: Journal of the American heart Association, examined the link between fruits and vegetable color group consumption with 10-year stroke incidence in a population-based study of 20,069 adults, with an average age of 41. The participants were free of cardiovascular diseases at the start of the study and completed a 178-item food frequency questionnaire for the previous year.

Fruits and vegetables were classified in four color groups:

  • Green, including dark leafy vegetables, cabbages and lettuces

  • Orange/Yellow, which were mostly citrus fruits

  • Red/Purple, which were mostly red vegetables

  • White, of which 55 percent were apples and pears

During 10 years of follow-up, 233 strokes were documented. Green, orange/yellow and red/purple fruits and vegetables weren't related to stroke. However, the risk of stroke incidence was 52 percent lower for people with a high intake of white fruits and vegetables compared to people with a low intake.

Each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of stroke. An average apple is 120 grams.

The lead author of the study commented on the findings:

"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."

In the study, other foods in the white category were bananas, cauliflower, chicory and cucumber. Potatoes were classified as a starch.

An accompanying editorial notes that the finding should be interpreted with caution because food frequency questionnaires may not be reliable, and "the observed reduction in stroke risk might further be due to a generally healthier lifestyle of individuals consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables."

Apples Are A Top Food

Apples have a huge number of health benefits and scientists are only just starting to identify their numerous life-enhancing nutrients. They are packed full of nutrients, such as Vitamin C, dietary fiber, Beta-carotene, flavonoids, phytosterols, antioxidants, and other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids - all ingredients the body needs for healing.

Apples are an effective cleansing tool, due to their fiber content which helps to clear toxins from the body. This soluble fiber is known as pectin, binds to bad cholesterol, toxins and heavy metals, speeding their excretion, and is one reason why apples are good for arteries. The flavonoid quercetin found in apples is anti-inflammatory and helps to ease allergic reactions and inflammatory conditions.

Research Paper Details:

Oude Griep LM, Verschuren WMM, Kromhout D, Ock? MC, Geleijnse JM. Colors of fruit and vegetables and 10-Year Incidence of stroke. Stroke, 2011.