Researchers at Harvard University Medical Center and Norwich Medical School in the U.K. studied stroke rates in almost 700,000 women over 14 years and found that those who consumed more citrus fruits were less likely to suffer ischemic stroke - caused when a clot blocks blood to the brain.
The key is an antioxidant called flavanone, a type of flavanoid found in oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits, as well as chocolate and red wine.
Subjects who consumed the highest amount of flavanones had a 19% lower risk of stroke than those who consumed the least, reports the study, published in Stroke.
However, before "an orange a day" becomes the new health mantra, the authors say more research need to be done.
"I would certainly not recommend that anyone take flavanone supplements based on this research," said author Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, MPH, of Boston's Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, CBS reported.
At this point, the study's findings are a lead to be followed, but a good lead, as they match with past research that has also pointed to a link between antioxidants and a reduced risk of stroke, thought to be due the reduced inflammation of blood vessels caused by these compounds.
Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S., and ischemic stroke accounts for 87% of strokes each year. Of the almost 800,000 Americans who suffer from stroke each year, 60% are women according to the American Stroke Association.
From the March 30, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily Update