Eating more apples, pears lowers stroke risk

September 19, 2011 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Eating more apples, pears lowers stroke risk

There's another reason to enjoy apples this fall - and pears too. According to researchers from the Netherlands, consuming fruit with white flesh, such as pears and apples, can reduce the risk of stroke by 52 percent.

This is the first study to look at the link between fruit and vegetable colour and the risk of stroke. The research team set out to determine whether there might be a link between vegetable and fruit colour group consumption and risk of stroke over 10 years. Their study involved 20,069 adults, average age of 41. None of them had any cardiovascular disease when the study began.

Fruits and vegetables were classified into the following colour groups:

  • Cabbage, lettuce and other dark green leafy vegetables
  • Orange and yellow, most of which were citrus fruits
  • Red and purple, most of which were red vegetables
  • White colours, such as apples and pears which made up half the group

The researchers found that the risk of stroke was not impacted by the consumption of orange/yellow and red/purple fruits. However, a high versus low intake of white fruits and vegetables was linked with a 52% lower risk of developing stroke.

There was a 9 percent reduced risk of stroke for every 25 gram increase in daily white fruit and vegetable consumption. An average sized apple weighs about 120 grams.

Pears and apples are rich in fibre and a phytochemical called quercetin. Other fruit and vegetables in this colour group include cucumber, chicory, cauliflower and banana.

Keep in mind, however, that other brightly coloured fruits and vegetables may protect against other chronic diseases. So it's important to get the recommended 7 to 10 daily servings from a variety of different coloured produce. (One serving is equivalent to one medium sized fruit, one cup of chopped fruit, ½ cup of raw of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of salad greens.)

The study was published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.