New findings from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) found that citrus fruits, oranges and grapefruits in particular, lower stroke risk by 20% for women in perimenopause and menopause. It seems the reason is flavanones, a subclass of flavonoids.
These findings were published in the February 23 online issue in Stroke. The authors studied almost 70,000 women between the ages 30 and 55 and they collected information on the women via questionnaires for more than 14-years.
Over that time, there were 1,803 strokes (943 ischemic, 253 hemorrhagic, and 607 of unknown type). The women who ate the most flavonoids had the least number of strokes. The median total flavonoid intake in the women was 232 mg/ day. You can find the highest amounts of flavanones in oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, and grapefruit juice.
The study also looked at vitamin C intake, but it was not associated with a lower number of strokes and adding vitamin C was not substantially better than the flavanones alone.
The experts believe the flavonoids protect against stroke by improving blood vessel function and reducing inflammation. It will take more studies to be sure. Until then, it’s another great reason to have a healthy breakfast and eat fruits daily. Click here for more information on menopause.