I’m sure you don’t need to be told again how much your body needs fruits and vegetables to fend off heart disease and live a long, healthy life. But a recent study* conducted by Aedin Cassidy at the University of East Anglia in England and colleagues at Harvard School of Medicine demonstrates something very specific: oranges may reduce the risk of stroke.
Dr. Cassidy and his team analyzed data on the risk of stroke for almost 70,000 nurses in the U.S. They looked at what the nurses ate, with special attention to the flavonoids found in plants.
"Citrus flavonoids, called flavanones, seemed to be associated with a reduction in risk," Cassidy said in a statement. "Our data suggest that if you eat more citrus fruit, it may modestly reduce your risk of stroke."
Cassidy says that more research needs to be done and that it’s important to check with your health care professional about incorporating oranges and other citrus fruits into your diet if you’re taking any medications. The Harvard Medical School Health Guide warned grapefruit and grapefruit juice are healthful, providing vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and other nutrients, but can also interact with dozens of medications.
"Doctors are not sure which of the hundreds of chemicals in grapefruit are responsible, but the leading candidate is furanocoumarin. It is also found in Seville (sour) oranges and tangelos; although these fruits have not been studied in detail, the guidelines for grapefruit should apply to them as well," the guide said. "Grapefruit's culprit chemical does not interact directly with medications. It binds to an enzyme in the intestinal tract known as CYP3A4, which reduces the absorption of certain medications."