I’ve already written about the health benefits of eating a variety of richly pigmented plant foods—the glorious reds, purples, oranges, and yellows found in fresh produce aisles, farmers’ markets, and backyard gardens. Well, it turns out that fruit and vegetables with white flesh—apples, pears, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, and bananas—may also confer health benefits.
Specifically, people who eat more white fruit and vegetables have far fewer strokes than those who don’t.
Dutch researchers followed more than 20,000 adults free of cardiovascular diseases at the start of the study for 10 years, and found “the risk of stroke was 52 percent lower for people with a high intake of white fruits and vegetables compared to people with a low intake. Each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of stroke. An average apple is 120 grams.” (The study classified potatoes as starches, not vegetables.)
Of course, the researchers urge caution in interpreting their data. They say their findings are preliminary and represent correlation, not necessarily causation. The benefits observed might result from other factors such as an overall healthier diet and lifestyle among people who eat lots of apples, pears, and onions.
Our garden onions (both red- and white-fleshed) are safely tucked away in the cellar, and it’s apple season here in central New Hampshire.
Onions. Photo by Leventina/Getty Images.
The onions, as well as local apples, will last all winter, which makes it easy to tuck away a couple of white-vegetable servings each day. For anyone seeking more variety, most supermarkets carry bananas, cauliflower, and cucumbers year ‘round.
Simple recipes that go with everything
Try slicing apples and/or pears, poaching them in a skillet with a tiny bit of water until soft, then sprinkling with a little cinnamon before serving as a side dish.
Or try a combination of red or green cabbage, onions, and apples. The proportions don’t matter much.
- Prepare a marinade of ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ½ cup apple cider, 2 tablespoons of your favorite sweetener, plus a pinch of salt.
- Shred a small cabbage and toss with marinade.
- Sauté a diced onion in a little olive oil in a large skillet until soft.
- Add the cabbage with its marinade, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Finally, add two or three diced apples and simmer a few more minutes until the apples are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.