Citrus, Flavonoids & A Reduced Risk Of Strokes
Eating more citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits is linked to a reduced risk of stroke in women. That’s what a study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association found in 2012.
Specifically, the study linked high intake of citrus flavonoids with a 19 percent lower risk of having an ischemic stroke.
What are flavonoids?
As the name implies, flavonoids are the compounds that add flavor and color to fruits, vegetables, and even dark chocolate.
Aedín Cassidy, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and professor of nutrition at Norwich Medical School in the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom commented in the article.
“Studies have shown higher fruit, vegetable and specifically vitamin C intake is associated with reduced stroke risk. Flavonoids are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect.”
Dr Cassidy and the research team looked at data spanning 14 years in a follow up to the UK’s Nurse’s Health Study, which followed 69,622 women. They looked at a broad range of flavonoids, including flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonoid polymers, flavonols and flavones.
• They found out that the different types of flavonoids had differing effects.
• The women who ate the most flavonones from citrus fruits – such as hesperidin and naringin – showed a 19 percent lower risk of stroke related to blood clots.
• Another study also found consumption of citrus flavonoids was related to a reduced risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain).
• Yet another study performed in Sweden found that women who ate the most antioxidants overall experienced fewer strokes.
More study is needed to understand exactly how citrus flavonoids help to prevent strokes, but many researchers believe that they have a protective effect on blood vessels, as well as helping to protect the body against inflammation, which is at the root of many conditions.