February 24, 2012
Citrus Fruit Found To Lower Risk Of Stroke In Women
Researchers have identified compounds, known as flavonoids, found in several citrus fruits that may lower a woman´s stroke risk, according to recent reports.
It is suggested from previous studies that eating fruits and vegetables aids in protecting against strokes, and many researchers believe that the flavonoids may explain why citrus has been shown to improve blood vessel function and show anti-inflammatory effects.
“Studies have shown higher fruit, vegetable and specifically vitamin C intake is associated with reduced stroke risk,” said AedÃn 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.
“Flavonoids are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect.”
A 19 percent lower risk of blood-clot-related strokes was found among women whose diets included the highest amount of flavonones. “Our study supports the conclusion that flavonones are associated with a modest reduction in stroke risk,” researcher Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women´s Hospital told Salynn Boyles of WebMD Health News.
Along with researchers from Norwich Medical School in the United Kingdom, Rexrode and Harvard colleagues attempted to better understand the impact of six specific subtypes of flavonoids on stroke risk. They did this by analyzing 14 years of follow-up data on nearly 70,000 female nurses participating in a nationwide women´s health study.
Every four years, the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires detailing the types of foods they ate. Among the different subtypes of flavonoids, higher flavonone intake mainly from citrus fruits was specifically associated with a lower risk.
The study, appearing in the April issue of the American Heart Association journal Stroke, concluded that women whose diets included the most oranges, and citrus juices, had the lowest stroke risk.
There are several mechanisms that may be involved in the lowering of clot risk with these compounds, including improving blood vessel health and countering inflammation, explains Cassidy.
Previous similar studies had mixed results, for instance, one study found a link between increased consumption of white fruits like apples and pears and lower stroke risk, but found no link for yellow and orange fruits, MSNBC reports. More studies are needed to confirm the association between flavonone consumption and stroke risk, and to gain a better understanding of the link, the researchers said.
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