Published in Natural Therapy Page
The pigments in fruits and berries have long been known to contain important nutrients. In a previous Natural Therapies Pages article, Why Eat Maqui Berries?, for example, it was mentioned that purple berries “contain specific anthcyanins known as delphinidins that demonstrate powerful anti-inflammatory activity in the body.” According to this study, white fleshed fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower, cucumbers apples and pears, appear to contain other important nutrients that may contribute specifically to a reduction in the risk of stroke.
The study, conducted by Linda M. Oude Griep and her team at the University of the Netherlands, divided foods into four colour groups. Conducted over a period of 10 years with 20,069 volunteers between the ages of 20 and 65, the group discovered that there seemed to be a direct correlation between the intake of white fleshed vegetables and fruits, particularly apples and pears, and a lowered incidence of stroke in study participants. According to the article, by Heike Wersching, MD, MSc, there was a “9% lower risk of stroke for each 25 g/d increase in white fruit and vegetable consumption.” An antioxidant found in white pigmented plants known as quercetin plus their high levels of dietary fibre may be responsible for this, according to the researchers.
Oude Griep and her colleagues stressed that while the white group was shown to decrease stroke risk, those fruits and vegetables in the green, yellow and red/purple categories also contained beneficial nutrients and may protect against other chronic diseases. Dr. Wesching, the article’s author, also pointed out that while Oude Griep and her associates “used a validated, detailed semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire” and made “ample statistical adjustments” to avoid confusing the benefits of white fleshed fruits and vegetables with the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in general, there was a statistical risk of error. Nevertheless, the results were encouraging enough for them to suggest that further studies were called for.
Scientific studies such as this one help validate what natural health practitioners have been advocating for generations: whole, natural foods are good for you and may even help prevent the serious diseases such as stroke, cancer and heart disease that plague us today. One thing seems to be sure: a colourful, mouth-watering fruit or vegetable salad is not just delicious looking, it is nutritious as well.