A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that a compound which is found in citrus fruit can help lower the risk of ischemic stroke in women.
The study showed that women who consumed high amount of grapefruit and oranges had a 19% lower risk of stroke, compared to women who did not regularly consume any citrus fruit.
The research studied the impact of a very specific subclass of flavonoids found in citrus fruit on stroke. Flavonoids are phytochemicals that are responsible for the red, yellow and blue pigmentation in vegetables and fruits.
Various studies have shown that flavonoids contain a powerful antioxidant potential, which can surpass even vitamins E and C. The researchers also discovered that flavonoids can also trigger mechanisms inside the body that inhibit tumor growth.
All plant foods are known to be sources of flavonoids, but they are highly concentrated in citrus fruits, berries, onion, green tea, parsley, dark chocolate and red wine.
Other studies have suggested that citrus flavonoids have beneficial effects on blood flow and capillary permeability. “Studies have shown that high intake of vegetable, fruit and vitamin C, is associated with reduced stroke risk. Flavonoids provide protection through several mechanisms, that includes anti-inflammatory effect and improved blood vessel function.
Citrus Fruit Most Effective Against Stroke
The researchers studied 14 years worth of research data, which included reports from nearly 70,000 women who detailed their dietary habits. The women took notes of their vegetable and fruit intake every 4 years.
Then the researchers investigated the relationship among six main classes of flavonoids and the risk ischemic, hemorrhagic and total stroke. Since the various types of flavonoids are different, no relationship was found between stroke risk and total flavonoid intake.
But, when the researchers looked closely at each sub-class, they discovered that citrus flavonoids can significantly lower the risk of ischemic stroke. Although the participants have primarily consumed grapefruit and orange juice, the researchers recommend that people eat the entire fruits, because as they contain less sugar but more fiber than commercially available fruit juices.
One of the studies found oranges to be more effective against stroke, compared to other fruits. While another study revealed that apples and pears improve brain blood flow and promote capillary health.
In spite of the data accumulated from the research, the team who conducted the study, believes that more research is needed to confirm the relationship between the risk of stroke and specific flavonoids and to understand why such an association occurs.