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An Apple a Day to Keep Strokes Away

An apple a day might really keep the doctor away, according to Dutch researchers. A recent study from Wageningen University suggests that eating fruits and vegetables with white flesh could cut your risk of stroke in half.

The findings were published online ahead of print on September 15, 2011 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The extensive study examined 20,069 Dutch adults between the ages of 20 and 65. Over the course of ten years, 233 strokes occurred within the participant group. Food consumption was recorded through a 178 item food frequency questionnaire.

After adjusting for age, sex, lifestyle, and dietary factors, the researchers determined that the participants who ate the most white fleshed fruits and vegetables—55% of which were apples and pears and 45% of which included bananas, cauliflower, chicory, and cucumber—had a 52% less likely chance of suffering from a stroke than those who ate the fewest white fleshed fruits.

The researchers also noted that an increase of 25g per day of white fleshed fruits and vegetables was associated with a 9% reduction in the risk of stroke. They found no correlating benefits from green, orange/yellow, or red/purple fruits and vegetables.

The scientists believe that these results were probably due to the high amount of the flavonoid quercetin found in white fleshed fruits and vegetables. Quercetin is an antioxidant that has also been linked to helping with asthma, allergies, and hives as well as improving cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, and even reducing the risk of cancer.

Fruit and vegetables are easy to add to your everyday diet. Put some fruit in your cereal or yogurt in the morning or just make a small side fruit salad to accompany your breakfast. Consider adding white fleshed vegetables to your salad at lunch or dinner.

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