Citrus fruit is so good in so many ways: It’s a low-calorie, high-fiber source of Vitamin C, and its fiber and water content makes it a nice, filling treat.
New research suggests citrus may also reduce stroke risk, at least in women. A study published Thursday in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association tracked data from the Nurses' Health Study for more than 69,000 women over 14 years.
Researchers found that those women who had the highest dietary intake of the plant compounds known as flavanones -- most commonly found in citrus fruits, especially oranges and grapefruits -- were 19 percent less likely to suffer ischemic stroke (in which blood flow to the brain is blocked) than those who consumed the least flavanones.
The researchers set out to examine the role sub-types of the class of plant pigments called flavonoids may play in stroke-risk reduction. They found no reduction of stroke risk associated with overall flavonoid intake. The authors say more research is needed to pin down the role flavanones may play in protecting against stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Flavanones could offer protection by reducing inflammation in blood vessels.
It’s generally recommended that people consume most of their fruit in whole, not juice, form; juices tend to be more highly concentrated sources of sugar and calories and lack whole fruit’s fiber content.
In other citrus news, the FDA issued a reminder on Wednesday that fresh grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with the way our bodies absorb certain prescription and non-prescription drugs (including some statins, blood-pressure medications and antihistamines), potentially causing too much or too little medicine to be released into the bloodstream. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the meds you take are among those for which avoiding grapefruit is recommended.