What are the health benefits of white fruits and vegetables?

You know how you're always told to fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables? Count white foods also. They could cut your stroke risk in half.

When you think "white," think under the skin (e.g., apples, pears and bananas, plus cauliflower, onions, garlic and cucumbers). In an impressive new stroke study, apples and pears were all-stars because they accounted for more than half of the white produce people ate, and the white stuff is what slashed stroke risk.

While eating lots of fruit and vegetables has long been linked to fewer strokes, this is the first effort to pinpoint which produce gets the credit.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Keep that old rhyme in your head! The people in this big, long study (10 years, 20,000 men and women) cut their stroke risk 9% for every 25 grams of white produce they ate. Here's how apples size up (approximately) to some other white foods:
  • Medium apple: 180 grams
  • Banana: 115 grams (Bananas also do your brain good in other ways.)
  • 1 cup of raw cauliflower: 100 grams
  • 10 slices of cucumber: 70 grams
You can see why grabbing an apple (or pear) is hard to beat, brain-wise. And yes, eat the skin. It, too, has fistfuls of fiber and plant antioxidants.

Surprisingly, the three big, brightly colored groups (green, orange/yellow and red/purple) of fruits and veggies didn't affect stroke rates at all, though their colorful pigments protect you from many other diseases, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Why are white foods so protective of your brain? That's not clear yet. No need to wait for scientists to figure out the reasons, though. With the exception of rock-hard pears and apples, white fruit can only do your body good.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.