TheBUZZ: Citrus fruits reduce the risk of a stroke in women?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Women who consumed citrus fruits on a regular basis decreased their risk for stroke, regardless of other factors.
WHAT WE KNOW
According to the American Heart Association more women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four (4) causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. The good news … 80% of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts, in terms of diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
The most important risk factors for stroke are hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, diabetes and cigarette smoking. Other factors that increase the risk of having a stroke include heavy alcohol consumption, high cholesterol levels, migraines, illicit drug use and genetic or congenital conditions.
While fruits and vegetables have always been part of a heart-healthy diet, researchers have uncovered yet another reason for you to eat your fruits and veggies—a direct link between flavonoid-rich* fruits can significantly lower stroke risk among women, according to a new study.
*Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals (antioxidants produced by plants) that are among the most potent and abundant antioxidants in our diet.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association looked at 14 years of data from the Nurses’ Health Study that included 69,622 women who reported what they ate, including details on fruit and vegetable consumption, every four years. The study found that citrus fruit consumption may be associated with a reduction in stroke risk, and that the flavonoid content of citrus fruits may potentially be cardioprotective.¹
Another recent study found that among women with no history of heart disease, those with the highest levels of diet-based antioxidants had a 17% lower risk of stroke
than those with the lowest levels. Even better news … women who had already suffered heart disease with higher levels of dietary antioxidant capacity had up to a 57% lower risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke
compared to those with the lowest levels.² Read More About Women & Stroke Risk
Just remember that fruits and vegetables are part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to give your body the best recipe of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds to promote a long life.
Consuming a diet that meets your recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day – along with adequate exercise – is one of the best ways to build a strong defense against heart disease and other diseases in the future. While some diseases are not preventable, eating your fruits and vegetables helps remove free radicals that can cause mutations and cell damage throughout your body.
New experimental studies are emerging that demonstrate multiple effects of fruits and vegetables and their phytochemicals, suggesting that fruits and vegetables may have an even greater role to play in human health than the already positive results seen to date. So, enjoy your fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors and forms at each and every eating occasion!
¹ Cassidy, A., E. Rimm, É. O’Reilly, et al. “Dietary Flavonoids and Risk of Stroke in Women.” Journal of the American Heart Association (2012), doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.637835
² Rautiainen, S., S. Larsson, J. Virtamo, et al. “Total Antioxidant Capacity of Diet and Risk of Stroke: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort of Women.” Stroke (2011) doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.635557