Flavonoids in Oranges Reduce Stroke Risk

A new 14 year study by the University of East Anglia in the UK has investigated the long-held belief that a higher level intake of citrus fruit can significantly reduce the chances of suffering a stroke.

Flavonoids and Stroke Risk

The researchers from the Norwich Medical School studied ongoing information on the diet of over 69,000 women in particular the connection of the antioxidant compounds called flavonoids which are found in some substances such as bitter chocolate, red wines, fruits and vegetables. Their research focused particularly on, to what degree these compounds may affect the onset of a stroke.

Citrus Fruits and Flavonoid Content

In the past, studies have included a larger variety of foods in order to ascertain the amount of the antioxidant in particular fruits and vegetables. The information from this ground breaking research which focused on citrus fruits indicates that the consumption of orange and grapefruit juices in particular yields a greater concentration of the indicated compound linked with avoidance of stroke.

It is significant that the article in the publication ‘Stroke’ identified the greatest number of the significant flavanones were to be found in oranges, as high as 82%. Whilst grapefruits contained a lower but still significant 14%.

How Do Flavanones Work?

The research investigated how these compounds impact on the body by differing processes.  These include anti-inflammatory effects and their consequences for blood flow. Information gathered that women who had a greater volume of flavanones from citrus in their diet had an almost 20% reduced risk of ischemic stroke, relating to blood clotting when compared to women who consumed the smallest amount.

A separate investigation showed that women from Sweden with a diet involving high levels of antioxidants containing approximately half from fruits and vegetables suffered fewer strokes than women with reduced antioxidant levels. The research was produced by information from women involved in an ongoing US Nurses’ Health Study however it is believed that the benefits obtained could be applied to men also.

Nutritional Components to Reduce Stroke Risk

A professor of nutrition involved in the research confirmed that the information gained have indicated that greater fruit, vegetable and particularly vitamin C in diet the has an impact on stroke reduction. Orange juice produced commercially may give up to 50mg per glass but for those who wish to increase their intake should eat all of the fruit. Because it is preferable due to the greater amount of sugar contained in most shop bought juices.

The yearly cost of Stroke damage to individuals, the Health Service and wider society, is huge with an average of over 100,000 sufferers per year in the UK . This results in a mortality rate of at least 2 in ten of stroke patients within four weeks and a staggering total of three hundred thousand left with varying degrees of disabilities. Clearly extended studies in this will produce a greater understanding of the link between citrus fruit intake and reduced stroke risk.

[box type=”note”]Commenting from the ‘The Stroke Association’ the Liaison Officer welcomed the value of the study in bringing new information on the value of citrus fruit intake which could help reduce the number of stroke sufferers but we should all remember the value of a healthy varied diet, lower in salt and fat and more awareness of the part of physical exercise and general healthcare takes in helping to strengthen the body against stroke.[/box]

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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