A compound found in oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits may slightly reduce the risk of stroke among women.
The compound is called flavanone, and it seems that it is able to reduce by 19% the risk of suffering an ischemic stroke in women with the highest levels of this flavonoid in their diet.
How flavonoids affect risk of stroke.
Flavonoids are a class of compounds present in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine.
Previous studies have shown that some fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in vitamin C, are associated with a lower risk of stroke.
Flavonoids are believed to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including a better function of blood vessels and a anti-inflammatory effect.
Not all flavonoids are the same.
This prospective study is one of the first to examine how the consumption of different flavonoid subclasses affects the risk of stroke.
During the 14 years, information was collected on the food intake of almost 70,000 women, which included details about the consumption of fruits and vegetables every four years.
The relationship between six main subclasses of flavonoids Commonly consumed in the diet: flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonoids, flavonols and flavones, with the risk of ischemic, hemorrhagic and total stroke.
No beneficial association was found between total flavonoid consumption and risk of stroke, since the Biological activity of the different flavonoid subclasses is different. They did find that women who ate large amounts of flavanones in citrus fruits had a 19% reduction in ischemic stroke risk than women who consumed the least amounts.
The study authors suggest that although the majority of the flavanones consumed by the women in the study came from orange and grapefruit juice (63%), eating the whole fruit would likely be a better way to increase your intake.
Cassidy A, Rimm EB, O'Reilly EJ, Logroscino G, Kay C, Chiuve SE, et al. (2012). Stroke. More information.