By Maite Zudaire
The color of the pulp reflects the difference in bioactive compounds and the health benefits of different fruits. It is striking that the color of both the skin and the pulp (also of vegetables) is a sign of the presence of pigments which, in turn, are bioactive compounds.
Pear or apple? A banana for lunch or two tangerines? A kiwi for breakfast or an orange juice? A persimmon for dessert or a handful of grapes? The richness and nutritional variety of fruits in vitamins, minerals and fiber, as well as antioxidant phytochemical compounds, added to the synergistic action of their components, makes fruits irreplaceable for a healthy diet.
It is striking that the color of both the skin and the pulp (also of vegetables) is a sign of the presence of pigments which, in turn, are bioactive compounds (carotenoids, anthocyanidins and flavonoids) that make a difference in the added value of the different kinds of fruits, beyond their nutritional contribution. A recent review signed by Dutch researchers reveals that a higher consumption of white meat fruits and vegetables (pear and apple were the most consumed) is associated with a greater reduction in the risk of stroke or stroke.
In the scientific literature there are studies that use different characteristics to classify fruits and vegetables. They also seek to associate with this classification a physiological benefit added to their own, which can be provided by fruit in general as a food group due to its nutritional value. In the research directed by Linda Oude Griep, from the Division of Human Nutrition of the University of Wageningen (Netherlands), they have used a novel way of cataloging these vegetables: according to the color of the edible part, of the pulp, which is related with its antioxidant capacity. Fruits and vegetables were classified into four color groups:
Green: vegetables from the cabbage family (cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts ...), spinach, lettuce, green beans, green pepper and fruits such as melon and kiwi.
Orange yellow: citrus fruits (grapefruit, orange and tangerine), cantaloupe melon, peach, apricot and vegetables such as carrot and pumpkin.
Red-purple: cherries, grapes, strawberries, berries (blackberries, blueberries ...) and vegetables such as red beets, red cabbage, red pepper, tomato, tomato juice and tomato sauce.
White: fruits such as apples and pears (the most consumed, 55% with respect to other fruits), in addition to bananas, and vegetables and greens that include garlic, leeks, onion, endives, cucumber, mushrooms and cauliflower.
In this prospective cohort, in which 20,069 healthy Dutch people between 20 and 65 years of age participated, it was detected that a higher consumption of white meat fruits and vegetables, over the course of 10 years, is inversely associated with the incidence of total stroke .
Apples and pears, the foods of the group most consumed by all participants, are a rich source of dietary fiber (2.3 g / 100 g) and quercetin, a type of antioxidant flavonoids (3.6 mg / 100 g , more abundant in apples). Regarding fiber, two meta-analyzes of randomized placebo-controlled intervention studies demonstrated that dietary fiber had a small blood pressure lowering effect. With regard to flavonoids, in a meta-analysis of 6 prospective cohort studies, it was concluded that high consumption of flavonoids from food is associated with a 20% lower risk of stroke.
The reflection made by the researchers is that this finding does not mean that it is suggested or should stop eating other fruits and vegetables. To begin with, the results should be replicated with new studies along the same lines, to corroborate these conclusions. And if future research confirms these findings, the researcher Oude Griep is emphatic and insists that "since fruits and vegetables of other colors could protect against other chronic diseases, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is important" and essential in the framework of a healthy and protective diet.
A white fruit a day
Apples and pears are popular fruits, they are affordable and available in their various varieties throughout the year. Although it is common to eat the piece for dessert or between meals, it is interesting to devise different ways in which these fruits can be added to each day's meals. Apple and pear compotes are a good resource for autumn, when the first colds begin and you want to eat hot or warm dishes.
In addition to the traditional apple or pear compote, you can try different versions such as the one that mixes apple with carrot or red cabbage, pear with chestnuts, or the recipe that combines both fruits, pear and apple. These creams give a sweet counterpoint with an acid touch to meat dishes such as duck confit, lamb chops, pork loin or pigeons.
Red fruits, rich in antioxidants
The group of red fruits, which includes strawberries and a variety of berries (gooseberries, blueberries, blackberries, sloes, raspberries), stands out above the rest for the great variety of phytochemicals. The striking and intense red and purple color is due to a type of antioxidants, anthocyanins. Scientific evidence associates the consumption of these compounds through food with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Since they are seasonal fruits, different preservation techniques would serve to provide these nutritious and healthy foods throughout the year. They can be dried or purchased dry and eaten mixed with breakfast muesli, with yogurt, rice pudding or fruit salad, make jams and jams, with less sugar or without added sugar to make the recipe healthier (strawberries, blackberries and figs) or prepare homemade energy bars that mix these fruits with nuts and cereal flakes (puffed rice, corn, oats) .Ecoportal.net