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Apples and pears may prevent stroke, says study

Consumer Reports News: September 15, 2011 04:43 PM

Eating an apple or pear a day might help prevent strokes, according to a study released today in the journal Stroke. The benefit appears to stem from dietary fiber or, perhaps, an antioxidant common in white-fleshed fruits and vegetables called quercetin.

Researchers in the Netherlands had 20,069 heart-disease free adults, aged 20 to 65, complete a 178-item food-frequency questionnaire, in which fruits and vegetables were classified into four color groups. After an average follow-up of 10.3 years, the researchers saw no connection between strokes and green foods (dark leafy vegetables), orange or yellow foods (citrus fruits), and red or purple foods (most red vegetables). But they found that stroke risk was 52 percent lower for people who consumed lots of white fruits and vegetables.

Apples and pears made up 55 percent of the white produce category; other produce in that category were bananas, cauliflower, chicory, cucumber, and mushrooms.

Bottom line: More research is needed to prove that the stroke-fighting powers of apples, pears, and other white produce stems from the foods themselves, not other health habits in people who eat a lot of those foods. Still, consuming a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can protect your heart by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure levels, limiting inflammation of the arteries, warding off type 2 diabetes, and, of course, helping you lose weight. If you’re prepared to do a little research of your own, be sure to wash apples, pears, and other produce, and choose organic varieties whenever possible.

Sources
Colors of Fruits and Vegetables and 10-Year Incidence of Stroke [Stroke]

Ginger Skinner


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