Citrus Fruit and Stroke Risk

Here’s a good reason to add some orange slices to your breakfast plate — it could help reduce your risk of stroke. According to a recent study, eating higher amounts of a compound found in citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruit, may lower your risk of having a stroke.

Researchers at Norwich Medical School in the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom analyzed 14 years of data from a long-term study in which 69,222 women reported what they ate, including details on fruit and vegetable consumption, every four years. The investigators looked at the relationship of the six most commonly consumed subclasses of flavonoids in the American diet and the risk of ischemic, hemorrhagic and total stroke.

The study authors did not find any beneficial relationship between total flavonoid consumption and the risk of stroke, but they did learn that women who ate high amounts of the flavonoids in citrus fruit, called flavanones, had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic (blood clot-related) stroke than women who ate the least amounts.

Most of the flavanones in the study came from orange and orange juice (82 percent) and grapefruit and grapefruit juice (14 percent), but the authors of the study recommend increasing consumption of citrus fruit rather than juice due to the fact that commercial fruit juice is generally high in sugar. They say more studies are necessary to confirm and explain this link between flavanone consumption and stroke risk.