Lead author Linda M. Oude Griep, a postdoctoral fellow in human nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and colleagues tracked 20,069 adults with an average age of 41 and no cardiovascular disease at the outset of the study. During the 10-year study 233 strokes were documented. Participants were asked to complete a 178-item food frequency questionnaire.
The study, published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, found the risk of stroke incidence was 52 percent lower for those who consumed white fruits and vegetables compared to people with a low intake.
"It may be too early for physicians to advise patients to change their dietary habits based on these initial findings," Oude Griep said in a statement.
"But, eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase produce intake, but other fruits and vegetable color groups may protect against other chronic diseases."
Fruit and vegetables were divided into four groups:
-- Green: Dark leafy vegetables, cabbages and lettuces.
-- Orange/Yellow: Citrus fruit, melon, squash, pumpkin.
-- Red/Purple: Mostly red vegetables, blueberries, grapes.
-- White inside: 55 percent were apples and pears, but also bananas, cauliflower, chicory and cucumber.
-- Potatoes were classified as a starch.