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Over the rainbow

Over recent years you will have seen advice to eat a “rainbow” coloured diet. This is based on the fact that the chemicals that give plants their red, purple, and yellow colours have been found to be health promoting. These polyphenol pigments are antioxidant and are richly supplied in things like berries, beetroot, squash, and carrots. What then of the fruits with a more anaemic flesh such as apples and pears? Are they mere window dressing for the health potential of their more extravagant fruity peers? According to a new study, white fleshed fruit has some powerful mojo of its own.

The new study involved more than 20 000 adults with average age of 41. None of them had a history of heart disease at the beginning of the study, and they were all followed for a period of ten years. In that decade 233 of the participants experienced a stroke.

All of the participants filled in food frequency questionnaires and their consumption of fruits and vegetables was classified into the following colour groups:
Cabbages, lettuces and other dark green leafy vegetables
Orange and yellow (most of which were citrus fruits)
Red and purple (most of which were red vegetables)
White (apples and pears made up 55 per cent of this group)

The researchers then matched risk of stroke against consumption of the various “colour” groupings. They found that stroke risk was not impacted by consumption of red/purple or yellow/orange fruits. However, a high intake of white flesh fruit led to a 52 per cent reduction in stroke risk when compared to low white fruit intake. There was a nine per cent reduction for every 25 gram daily increase in white fruit consumption. An average apple weighs around 120 grams and so an apple a day would take around 50 per cent off your stroke risk.

The reason for this is that white flesh fruits like apples and pears are both rich in the antioxidant quercetin and are good sources of fibre like pectin which can lower blood fats.

White flesh fruit then has its benefits. Maybe we ought to just get over the rainbow?

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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