Eating oranges and grapefruit daily seem to help lower the risk of stroke among women, thanks to compounds called flavones they contain. This news comes from reviewing 14 years of follow-up data gathered from 70,000 women participating in the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study, a landmark trial that has been on-going since 1976 and is still recruiting volunteers.
Flavones are a subclass of flavonoids, antioxidant compounds found naturally in fruits, vegetables, red wine, dark chocolate, coffee and tea. The researchers, from England’s Norwich Medical School, found that women whose diets included the most flavones had a 19 percent lower risk of stroke linked to blood clots than those whose diets were lowest in flavones. They reported that most of the flavones came from citrus fruits, and recommended that women choose whole fruits rather than juice to increase their flavones intake.
A typical serving of citrus fruit contains 45 to 50 mg of flavones. The women with the highest intake consumed more than 470 mg per day. The researchers noted that the women whose diets included the most flavones also ate more fiber, took in less caffeine and alcohol, smoked less and exercised more than the women with the lowest flavones intake.