Citrus fruits can save your life?
We have known for ages that flavonoid-rich foods are good for you and can help to prevent heart attack and stroke. A new research study published in the American Heart Association's journal, Stroke, recently has touted the role that citrus fruits can play in preventive health for women.
What are Flavonoids?
First of all, we need to discuss flavonoids! Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits and vegetables, along with dark chocolate, red wine, teas, coffee, etc. and they act just like antioxidants. The flavonoids appear to protect against damage to the blood vessels. So by having a higher intake of flavonoids, there is a decreased risk of cardiac disease. Basically free radicals are chemicals that flow throughout the body and can cause damage to various parts of the body, but specifically blood vessels and cells, the flavonoids help to prevent the reactions with the free radicals before any damage can occur: the flavonoids are an awesome defensive line against very aggressive offensive line up!
What is the Study?
For a period of 14 years, over 69,000 women were followed and the overall study was looking at the protective nature of flavonoids, and the women were asked to report their intake of fruits and vegetables. So, not only looking at the overall effect of taking in flavonoids on risk factors for stroke and heart attack, but then they more specifically looked at the intake of citrus fruits (and their flavonoids). So they already found that flavonoids decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, but now they have found that higher intake of citrus fruits (with high levels of flavonoids) had a 19% decreased risk of ischemic stroke. (Ischemic strokes are strokes where blood flow is impeded to a part of the brain and can cause pretty significant long term damage if not treated quickly!) This is kind of a big deal that they have been able to hone in on a specific food, with higher levels of flavonoids, and find a direct link to the health effects.
What does this mean?
In all honesty, I am a huge citrus fruit fan, and I usually eat a minimum of a grapefruit and an orange per day, but as long as you like citrus fruits, and you don't take them at the same time as any medications you are taking (sometimes they can interact- especially grapefruit you need to be really careful with checking interactions) go for it! Eat your fresh veggies and get your citrus on. They are full of vitamin C, to prevent scurvy, yummy, and full of fiber which makes a happy and healthy body!! There is no recommended daily dose of flavonoids but an orange has about 45-50mg, so that is a good base start, and eat as many flavonoid rich foods each day as you can! So get your fruit on, and reduce your risk of stroke and cardiac disease ladies! And for the men: it can't hurt for you to get your citrus on too!
Yours in Good Health