Citrus fruits, like oranges and grape fruit, contain a compound that may reduce the risk of stroke in women, according to a study published in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke. Many of the earlier studies had shown the beneficial effect of antioxidants, like flavonoids, present in vegetables and fruits. These compounds are anti-inflammatory in nature, and improve the functioning of the blood vessels.
Among the different types of flavanoids, flavanones present in citrus fruits give the maximum protection against stroke. The results of this study show that in women whose diet had high amounts of flavonones, the risk of stroke reduces by 19%, when compared to women who had low intake of compound in the diet.
Researcher Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, MPH, of Boston’s Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reports that the study shows the link between moderate reduction of stroke risk and intake of flavanones. In this study, the researchers compared the impact of six different types of flavanoids on the risk of stroke. Data for the study was obtained from the follow-up data on nearly 70,000 female nurses participating in a nation-wide women’s health study. The participants filled out questionnaires related to the study at the beginning of the study and every four years during the study period.
Results clearly show that among the different types of flavanoids, intake of flavanones reduced the risk of stroke in the participants. Lowest risk was found in women whose diet included oranges, grape fruit and other citrus fruits. But the results can be considered for recommendation only if it is supported by further studies which confirm the findings, says Rexrode. Another fact that complicates the result is the fact that grape fruit juice and fresh grape fruit have dangerous interactions with the drugs usually prescribed for hypertension and stroke risk. Grape fruit juice can also increase the concentration of certain blood pressure drugs which leads to an increase in the risk of its side effects.
Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, professor of nutrition Pennsylvania State University and American Heart Association spokesperson, remarks that this study further confirms the importance of having variety of fruits and vegetables to prevent cardiovascular diseases. She recommends that it is better to have whole fruits instead of citrus fruit juices to limit the intake of sugar and calories.
- Citrus fruits, like oranges and grape fruit, contain a compound that may reduce the risk of stroke in women.