The Benefits of white food's - Gillian Mckeith
The benefits to health of eating brightly coloured fruit and vegetables are now well established. The rainbow plate, in which a variety of colours are eaten each day, is recommended for its protective effects against various health problems. The colours reflect the presence of pigmented bio-active compounds such as carotenoids and flavanoids.
All the talk about the importance of colour has meant that ‘white foods’ have rarely been mentioned. Until now, that is! However, I am not talking about white rice, white bread and white pasta! Research in the Netherlands found that when it comes to stroke prevention, white flesh fruits and vegetables are most protective, compared to green, orange/yellow and red/purple foods (1,2). Apples and pears were the most commonly consumed white flesh foods in the study group, so it appears that elements in these fruits are protective to the cardiovascular system and brain.
White flesh foods include apples, pears, bananas, cauliflower, garlic, onions, parsnips and turnips, anything with a white coloured inside. Antioxidants called anthoxanthins are present in the white-colored pigments. Allicin, a compound that may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and lower the risk of cancer and heart disease, is present in some white foods, especially garlic.
OTHER COLOURED FOODS
That said, it's not just white foods that are beneficial to health. Here's a quick reminder of all the benefits offered by the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables:
Red fruits and vegetables
• Water melon, tomatoes and pink grapefruits contain lycopene which has been shown to have antioxidant properties and is particularly beneficial to prostate health.
• Raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates and strawberries contain ellagic acid, a type of polyphenol, which has antioxidant properties.
• Red grapes contain resveratol which has antioxidant and cardio-protective properties.
Orange and Yellow fruits and Vegetables
• Carrots, apricots, mangoes, papayas and squash contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. The carotenoids are beneficial to eye and skin health and have antioxidant properties.
Green Fruits and Vegetables
•All green foods contain magnesium and calcium needed for healthy bones and nerve and muscle function.
• Research just published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently found that eating green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and cabbage may help to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (3).
• Green vegetables contain phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbonil that may play a role in cancer prevention (4).
• Green vegetables are green due to the chlorophyll they contain. It is chlorophyll that allows plants to absorb light from the sun and convert it into usable energy. Chlorophyll is being studied for its potential effects against various types of cancer (5).
• Green vegetables contain lutein an important antioxidant particularly for eye health (6)
• Green vegetables are high in fibre and low in simple carbohydrates.
Blue/Purple Fruits and Vegetables
Blueberries and blackberries contain proanthocyanidins and polyphenols (7). These anti-oxidants, along with others same-coloured fruits, have been found to:
Reduce cancer development by attacking initiation and proliferation of cancer cells. (8,9,10)
Enhance memory (11)
Protect eye sight (12)
Protect against brain damage from strokes (13)
Summary of Benefits
The conclusion of the scientists as to the benefits of different coloured foods is that “it is not isolated food components, but rather a specific interplay of different nutrients in whole fruits and vegetables and in a diet rich in plant foods, which might mediate their protective effects “(2). In other words, eating a wide range of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables each day is the best way to benefit from the nutrients and phytochemicals that provide anti-cancer and cardio-protective properties.
Oude Griep LM, Verschuren WM, Kromhout D, Ocke MC, Geleijnse JM. Colors of fruit and vegetables and 10 year incidence of stroke. Stroke 2011 Nov;42(11):3190-5 Heike Wersching MD, MSc. An apple a day keeps stroke away? Consumption of white fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of stroke. Stroke, Nov 2011
• Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, Khunti K, Davies MJ. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus:systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2010 Aug 18;341:c4229
•Gullett NP, Ruhul Amin AR, Bayraktar S et al. Cancer prevention with natural compounds.SeminOncol. 2010 Jun;37(3):258-81
•Chimploy K, Diaz GD, Li Q, Carter O et al. E2F4 and ribonucleotidereductase mediate S-phase arrest in colon cancer cells treated wihchlorophyllin. Int J Cancer. 2009 Nov 1;125(9):2086-94
• Ma L, Lin XM.Effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on aspects of eye health. J Sci Food Agric. 2010 Jan 15;90(1):2-1
• Wu X, Beecher GR et al. Concentrations of anthocyanins in common foods in the United States and Estimation of Normal Consumption. J Agric Chem. 2006 May 31;54(11):4069-4075
•Katsube N, Iwashita K, et al. Induction of apoptosis in cancer cells by Bilberry (Vacciniummyrtillus) and anthocyanins. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jan 1;51(1):68-75
•Bomser J, Madhivi DL, et al. In vitro anticancer activity of fruit extracts from Vaccinium species. Planta Med. 1996 Jun;62(3):212-6
•Nanjoo S, Shiby P et al. Pterostilbene, an active constituent of blueberries, suppresses aberrant crypt foci formation in the azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis model in rats, clinical cancer research, Jan 1, 2007 13, 350-355
• Yi W, Fischer J. et al. Phenolic compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. J Agric Food Chem, 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7320-9
• Andres Lacueva C, Shukitt-Hale B, et al. Anthocyanins in aged blueberry fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory. NutrNeurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20
• Cho E, Seddon JM et al. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Opthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92
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