Fruit and veggie lovers, rejoice: yet another study confirms that plant-based foods are good for you! Consumption of flavonone-rich citrus fruits may reduce stroke risk, according to new research.
In a study published Feb. 23 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers evaluated data collected from 70,000 women over 14 years.
Their focus was assessing the benefit of various types of flavonoids, a group of anti-oxidants found in fruits, vegetables, red wine, and dark chocolate. Flavonoids are known to be beneficial in reducing risk of various cardiovascular problems, probably by reducing inflammation and improving blood vessel function.
In this research the stars of the show turned out to be flavonones, flavonoids commonly found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits. High levels of flavonone consumption correlated strongly with reduced risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke (caused by blood clots forming in the brain).
According to the study,
…women who ate the most flavanones had a 19 percent lower risk of blood-clot related stroke than those who ate the least. The investigators found that 95 percent of the flavanones consumed came from citrus fruit and juice, mostly orange and grapefruit…
Researchers recommend whole citrus fruits over fruit juices, since the fruits provide more flavonones and less sugar.
Though this study only considered information collected from women, researchers expect similar results in future studies of flavonone consumption by men. Investigators say further research is needed, for continued exploration of how different kinds of flavonoids confer specific cardiovascular benefits.
But this study confirms and clarifies the link between a fruit-and-veggie-rich diet and reduced cardiovascular problems:
Pennsylvania State University professor of nutrition and American Heart Association spokesperson Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, says the study reinforces the public health message that eating a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables protects against heart and blood vessel disease…
“This is very provocative research which suggests that including citrus fruits in your diet could lower stroke risk,” she says.
Funny how we never see results like this from studies on bacon! Plant foods rock; that is all.
Image credit: Creative Commons photo by Laurel Fan.