And the winner is a diet with lots of variety, so that all parts of the body
We've all heard plenty of advice about eating your leafy greens and colored
fruits -- and they're certainly an important part of a healthy diet. But a new
study, just released in September, has shaken everything we thought we knew
about fruit and vegetable nutrition. Forget greens and reds, purples, blues, and
oranges when it comes to produce. According to the latest study, white is now
the color of health -- especially when it comes to protection against
In a study that took place at Wageningen University in the
Netherlands, researchers had approximately 20,000 adult volunteers complete
questionnaires about their typical eating habits. The subjects, who had an
average age of 41 and were not previously diagnosed with any form of
cardiovascular disease, were then tracked for ten years. During that time, 233
of the participants had a stroke.
By comparing the specifics of their
diets, the scientists were able to identify a trend that those who regularly eat
greater quantities of white fruits and vegetables are 52 percent less likely to
suffer a stroke than those who eat only a little white produce. And for every
25-grams (one ounce) daily increase of white produce a subject consumes, there
is a corresponding nine percent reduction in risk of stroke. The researchers'
category of white fruits and vegetables included apples, pears, bananas,
cauliflower, chicory, and cucumber. White potatoes, alas, did not make the list
-- instead, they were considered a starch.
There are earlier studies that
have made the association between a high intake of fruits and vegetables and a
lower risk of stroke, but this is the first one that pinpointed the effects of
particular colors of produce. White was a winner. Stunningly, there was no
evidence of a connection between other colored fruits and vegetables and lowered
stroke risk. None of the other colors analyzed, including green, yellow, red,
orange, and purple, were found to have an impact on stroke incidence.
is white produce so special? The researchers don't know exactly. It could have
something to do with the antioxidants they provide. Apples and pears are both
full of flavonoids, including quercetin, which stabilize the free radicals that
can damage our DNA and blood vessels. They also contain a lot of fiber, in the
form of pectin, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels in the
blood. Bananas are a wonderful source of potassium, which helps maintain blood
pressure levels and protects against atherosclerosis, and they are also high in
fiber. Cauliflower offers sulforaphane, which has been found to lower cancer
risk, as well as plentiful amounts of vitamin C and fiber. Chicory contains
cichoric acid, a polyphenol antioxidant that can stimulate the immune system.
Cucumbers also have a lot of fiber and vitamin C. But these are all different
nutrients that provide different benefits to the body. As to what they all share
in common, other than their whiteness, that helps protect against stroke: that's
still a mystery -- like dark matter.
So clearly white produce should be
on your grocery list, but despite the results of this particular study, you
should not neglect other colors of fruits and vegetables. They all offer their
own health benefits, and the best nutrition comes from a varied diet that
features everything in moderation. All forms of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables
should be the cornerstone of your daily diet. Aside from stroke, they help
prevent many diseases including cancer and diabetes.
But at a time such
as now when stroke rates are on the rise, we need to do what we can to protect
ourselves. Although strokes can be caused by leaky blood vessels, the primary
cause is when a blood clot disrupts the flow of blood to your brain. Risk
factors include high blood pressure, a high cholesterol level, diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, being overweight, and cigarette smoking. The risk of
stroke also increases after the age of 55, but a recent study at the Centers for
Disease Control found that the rate of strokes in children and younger adults
has risen tremendously in just the last decade. The largest jump was in boys and
men between the ages of 15 and 34; their rate of hospitalizations for stroke
increased by 51 percent. And every age category for both males and females
between 5 and 44 years old also experienced an increase.
yourself from becoming one of these statistics, you need to prevent the blood
clots that are the cause of stroke, as well as heart attacks and pulmonary
embolisms, from forming. Far safer than the drugs the medical community touts
(which can cause internal bleeding), are proteolytic enzyme formulations
that incorporate specialized enzymes such as
nattokinase. They also benefit you by dissolving arterial plaque and helping
promote the repair of arterial tissue. Combined with improvements to your diet,
including adding more raw foods such as white produce, you will be greatly
improving your odds against stroke and a host of other diseases as well.