Citrus cuts stroke

Oranges are the Angelina Jolie of the citrus set; they gather all the glamour headlines and are keenly sought after for picture shoots. They also have Pitts. Citrus in general however, are a tasty and healthy lot. Throw grapefruit, lemons, and limes into the bowl with oranges and you have an attractive, healthy crew. Indeed, a new study has just found that a unique form of ingredient from citrus can lower your stroke risk.

Oranges in particular, and citrus in general, are known for their vitamin C content. Interestingly, the character actor capsicum, always cast in a supporting role, is a richer vitamin C source and was actually the original food in which vitamin C was identified. It is not vitamin C though that was the focus of this new study.

Flavonoids are a class of antioxidant nutrient found in many plants. These flavonoids are known to reduce risk of stroke (the brain shutting down due to lack of blood supply due to a blockage or embolism or leakage from blood vessels). There are many different types of flavonoids however, and these researchers wanted to see if some flavonoids were more protective than others.

To examine this they examined fourteen years worth of data that had been gathered on 69 622 women. This data included information on diet, including which fruits and vegetables the women ate. The researchers looked to see whether there was in fact a correlation between the amount of flavonoids consumed and likelihood of a stroke. There was, but not for all flavonoids.

This is not to denigrate any flavonoids that did not reduce stroke risk as they all have different and beneficial biological effects. What they did find though, is that women who ate the most flavonones (a type of flavonoid) from citrus fruits had a nineteen per cent reduction in stroke risk when compared to women who ate the least amount of citrus.

This study showed that oranges and orange juice have the highest flavonone content (82 per cent) followed by grapefruit and grapefruit juice (fourteen per cent). To increase your flavonone intake though, go for the fruit as the juice is higher in sugars.

So there you are, orange you glad you like citrus!

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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