During the week of October 24 – 28, 2011 what color fruits and vegetables did Dr. Oz recommend to help reduce the risk of a stroke?
The answer is B. White
A. Red - 12%
B. White - 37%
C. Blue - 6%
D. Green - 43%
This week's quiz was a stumper!
On the 10/24/11 episode of The Dr. Oz Show Quick Fixes to Prevent the Diseases You Fear Most, Dr. Oz shared information from a new study that show eating white fleshed fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of stroke.
When looking to improve the nutritional quality of the diet, including more color is key. Fruits and vegetables certainly come in a rainbow of options. Each color can indicate a concentration of specific nutrients. To address particular concerns, people can choose to increase one color of food. Or to cover all the bases, create a plate or a menu plan with as many colors of as possible.
Red Fruits and Vegetables
The color red indicates a concentration of lycopene and quercetin along with vitamins A and C. Part of the carotenoid family, lycopene has long been recommended for prostate health, heart health, and supportive of reducing cancer risks. Most studies have focused on the benefits of lycopene from the tomato however the entire red food family contains the nutrient. Watermelon, cherries, red cabbage, beets, radishes, and red peppers are all great choices for boosting the red in your rainbow of foods.
White Fruits and Vegetables
The study, which surprised even Dr. Oz, stated that by increasing your intake of white fleshed fruits and vegetables by 25g per day can reduce the incidence of stroke by 9%. An average size apple weighs in at 120g. Eating that apple a day would significantly cut those stroke risk factors.
Again, it's the flesh of the fruits and vegetables that the study looked at so all apples be they green or red skinned would be included along with bananas, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and cucumbers.
According to this ground breaking study, the white fleshed foods show an ability to support the structure of the blood vessels. Without structural support, blood vessels can weaken, crack allowing blood to seep into the brain – in medical terms, a hemorrhagic stroke.
Blue Fruits and Vegetables
Beautiful blue fruits and vegetables get their color from anthocyanins – plant pigments that are seen as blue or purple. The blue family of foods includes eggplant, blueberries (my favorite), figs, raisins, purple radish, blue potatoes, blackberries.
Anthocyanins indicate that this color group of foods are high in antioxidant value. They have been shown to have benefits in supporting the heart, memory, can reduce the risk of stroke and provide support for healthy aging.
The blue family is also home to the latest celebrity antioxidant: resveratrol. Red wine grape skins provide the most abundant source of resveratrol of all foods.
Green Fruits and Vegetables
What makes a plant green? Chlorophyll! That green pigment is the result of photosynthesis that we all learned about in grammar school.
Green is the home to the cancer fighting powerhouse chemical in the cruciferous vegetables that we hear about all the time. Broccoli is the superstar of cruciferous veggies.
Greens are also rich in iron and folate too especially when it comes to the leafy side of the family. Spinach, lettuce, kale, collards are easy to incorporate into the diet even if there's an aversion to the earthy green flavor. Add a leaf of kale to a fruit smoothie and you'll never notice the taste. Toss a handful of spinach into a pot of tomato sauce that will become a delicious spaghetti or deletable lasagne. Lightly saute collards with piece or two of bacon and you're in green veggie business.
Be sure to take a look at yellow and orange foods as well to pack on the Vitamin A. Pumpkin, yellow squash, yellow peppers, mango and pineapple are all delecious representations of the yellow and orange fruits and veggies.
Garden-Robinson, Julie Ph.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Dakota State University, Agriculture Department, What Color is Your Food? Taste a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetable for Better Health, revised February 2009 and reviewed May 2011.