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We know the old adage of eating 2 fruit and 5 vegetables every day for our general health. Many of those which are highly coloured, red, yellow and green have been identified as containing high levels of phytochemicals which can have a positive impact for our heart health and brain function.

Researchers have now found that eating the white flesh of fruits appears to be protective versus stroke.
In a Dutch study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association it was noted that the incidence of stroke in those who ate more white fleshed fruits and vegetables was about half that of those who ate relatively little.

For every 25 grams per day increase in white fruit and vegetable consumption there was a 9% lower risk of stroke.

An average apple weighs around 120grams.

And before you reach for the next plate of hot chips – potatoes were classified here as a starch source.

Apples and pears provided over half the intake of white fruits eaten over the study, which ran for ten years.
What are the other white fruits and vegetable to think about?

Bananas, cauliflower, cucumber and chicory (witlof)

Over twenty thousand people contributed to the study, which took the form of food frequency questionnaires. None had any identifiable cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study and the average age was 41 years.

Why is this relevant to brain health? Stroke is a major cause of health burden and vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia.

An editorial published with the article cautions that this research may not be 100% reliable from its use of these type of questionnaires and also did not factor in for the variable that those eating more white fleshed fruits may have been those already leading healthier lifestyles.

Any which way, it is always going to be a good thing to include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in your diet.

So, next time you take an apple to school for teacher, remember to pack one for yourself as well.

Linda M. Oude Griep, W. M. Monique Verschuren, Daan Kromhout, Marga C. Ocké, Johanna M. Geleijnse. Colors of Fruit and Vegetables and 10-Year Incidence of Stroke. Stroke, 2011; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.611152

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, keynote speaker and best-selling author. You can now pre-order her new book ‘The Natural Advantage’ due for publication in October 2024.

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