By Stephanie Stahl

Stephanie Stahl reports…

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — White is the new healthy color, according to new research that says white produce can be life saving. Experts have been saying that colorful food like broccoli and tomatoes are extra nutritious for years. Now, new research finds even more benefits from white produce in preventing strokes.

You know about the benefits of eating an apple a day. Add a pear or other white produce, and the risk of having a stroke is reduced by a striking 52 percent.

“That is a huge reduction,” Dr. Emil Matarese, the Director of the Stroke Center at St. Mary Medical Center. He says new research on 20,000 people found those who consumed more white fruits and vegetables had fewer strokes.

“We believe it’s that antioxidant effect that most likely is producing the benefit, but we don’t know for sure. It also has anti-inflammatory effects,” said Dr. Matarese.

While white produce appears to have special stroke fighting properties, doctors say colorful items like broccoli, tomatoes and oranges are just as important for overall health benefits.

“I wish I had known this 30, 20, 10 years ago, or before my stroke,” said Frank Basil, who is 71-years-old and is almost completely recovered from a stroke, which is marked by an interruption of blood flow to the brain.

“It was the most scary thing in the world,” said Frank.

Now he’s learned about the importance of eating well, with a special focus on white.

“It’s easy. It’s there. Pick it up. It’s not hard to eat,” said Frank.

This research only found a benefit with white produce, not other white things like flour or sugar, which are not healthy.

For more information on the Southeast Pennsylvania American Heart Association, click here.

For more information on the study, click here.

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS3

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