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White-Fleshed Fruits & Vegetables vs Stroke Risk

Posted Sep 19 2011 3:55am
Diet, schmiet.  We know what healthy food is, just as we know what unhealthy food is.  It's more a matter of acting upon what we know.  So is it any surprise when the only diets that have survived the test of peer-reviewed publication (as opposed to Internet & TV show advertorials) include a varied number of fruits & vegetables in them, eg Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, etc.  Specifically, one way to teach our kids to eat is to consume the colors of the rainbow each day in terms of fruits & vegetables (not Skittles and M&M's).  Of course, that raises the question of which fruit or vegetable is more important.  For instance, the darker ones theoretically have more antioxidants.

However, in a nice twist, a study was published early online last week (prior to release in print in November) concluding that high consumption of white-fleshed fruits & vegetables is associated with lower stroke risk, all other things being equal.  Just what are these white-fleshed fruits & vegetables?  Apples & pears, apple juice & sauce, bananas, cauliflower, chicory, cucumber, mushroom, garlic, leek & onion.

In the prospective, population-based cohort study, the authors followed for 10 years 20,069 men & women average 41-42yo w/o known baseline cardiovascular disease.  Consumption of green, orange/yellow & red/purple fruits & vegetables was not associated with stroke risk while each 25g/d increase in white-fleshed fruit & vegetable consumption lowered stroke risk by 9%.  Given that the participants consumed 118g/d of white-fleshed fruits & vegetables, this calculates out to a 42% reduction.  When comparing those in the upper quartile of consumption (>171g/d) to those in the lowest quartile (<78g/d), the authors noted a 52% lower risk of stroke.
I found it particularly gratifying to know that the average participant also consumed 62g of green, 87g of orange/yellow, and 57g of red/purple fruits & vegetables daily in addition to their 118g/d of white-fleshed fruits & vegetables.  Still, when all is said & done, I'm a lumper & not a splitter.  Rather than have you eat just one color, I still recommend eating the colors of the rainbow each day.  By the way, don't forget to optimize your blood pressure, cholesterol & sugar for your best bet at avoiding a stroke!

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