White Fleshed Fruits and Vegetables Lower Stroke Risk

A pear a day could keep strokes away


White Flesh Fruits and Vegetables Associated with Low Risk for Stroke

Hockessin, Del. – A new study has found that eating fruits and vegetables whose edible section, or flesh, is white may protect against stroke. Fruits and vegetables were divided into four color groups, each based on the color of the flesh portion: Green, orange/yellow, red/purple and white. Fruits and vegetables included in the white category were apples, pears, apple juice, apple sauce, bananas, cauliflower, chicory, cucumber and mushrooms. White fruits and vegetables were the most commonly consumed produce at 36 percent, and within this group, apples and pears accounted for the highest consumption at 55 percent. The findings were published online in the September 15, 2011 edition of Stroke and will be printed in the November 2011 edition.

Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, led by Linda Oude Griep, used data collected by the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands that included more than 20,000 people. Study participants were between the ages of 20 and 65 at the start of the study, and none showed any signs of cardiovascular disease. The food-intake, frequency and overall health of the participants were followed for 10 years. During the follow-up period, 233 participants had a stroke. Researchers found for every 25-gram increase in the amount of white fruits and vegetables consumed each day, the risk of stroke decreased by 9 percent. For comparison purposes, a medium-size apple is 120 grams. Oude Greip said it is not completely clear what components in white fruit and vegetables might be protective for stroke, but she suspects that the dietary fiber and flavonoids play a role.

“The findings in this recent study serve to strengthen what is quickly becoming common knowledge to consumers – eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is good for overall health and reducing the risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, some cancers and other chronic conditions,” says Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) the nonprofit entity in partnership with CDC behind the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters national public health initiative. “While this particular study focused on white fruits and vegetables, eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables provides a natural variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber that allow you to be your best everyday. Consumers are recognizing that making half their plate fruits and vegetables is easy when they include 100 percent juice, fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables.” The Fruits & Veggies—More Matters national public health initiative is a helpful and easy reminder for consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables and strongly supports not only the findings of the Danish study, but all studies with findings showing a link between eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day and better health, adds Pivonka. A wide variety of information, tools, and resources on fruits and vegetables, including a nutrition database, recipes, and videos can be found on the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters consumer-friendly website.

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About Produce for Better Health Foundation

Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) fruit and vegetable education foundation. Since 1991, PBH has worked to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables to improve public health. PBH achieves success through industry and government collaboration, first with the 5 A Day program and now with the Fruits & Veggies-More Matters public health initiative. Fruits & Veggies-More Matters is the nation’s largest public-private, fruit and vegetable nutrition education initiative with Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Coordinators in each state, territory and the military. To learn more, visit www.PBHFoundation.org and www.FruitsandVeggiesMoreMatters.org. Follow Fruits & Veggies-More Matters on Facebook or Twitter.

PBH is also a member and co-chair with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) of the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance (NFVA), consisting of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry working to collaboratively and synergistically achieve increased nationwide access and demand for all forms of fruits and vegetables for improved public health. To learn more, visit www.NFVA.org.

Media Contact:

Kristen Stevens
Senior Vice President
Produce for Better Health Foundation
Tel: 302-235-2329
Email: kstevens@pbhfoundation.org

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