Citrus Helps Prevent Strokes
The researchers studied 69,622 women for 14 years. There were 1,803 strokes among the women during that period. The researchers found that those who consumed the highest amounts of citrus fruits or juice had a nearly 20% lower incidence of ischemic strokes, and a 10% lower incidence of all strokes.
An ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage of blood flow that feeds the brain. This can produce a loss of physical, nervous or cognition function. The source of the blockage can be caused by a blood clot somewhere else in the bloodstream, causing thrombosis. This is often related to atherosclerosis – the build of plaque within the artery walls.
The researchers initially attributed the effect to the increased level of flavanones from the citrus. Flavanones are a type of flavonoid that typically contain glycosides. Examples of flavanones are Hesperetin, Hesperidon, Naringin and Naringenin – all of which are contained in citrus fruits.
However, further investigation found that flavanone consumption did not specifically relate to the stroke reduction found in the study.
What caused the reduction? Citrus contains a variety of bioactive substances other than flavanones, many of which are potent antioxidants.
This was underscored in a recent study published in the Journal Agricultural Food Chemistry. The researchers found that lemon juice supplies potent antioxidants that break down a variety of free radicals.
Plaque build up in the arteries is associated with an increase in oxidative radicals such as oxidized LDL-cholesterol. The ability of antioxidants to neutralize oxidized LDL has been shown in numerous nutraceutical studies.
The researchers also found that lemon juice in particular inhibits cholinesterases such as acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase. The ability to reduce these cholinesterases gives lemon therapeutic properties against a variety of neuromuscular disorders and chronic nervous issues.
Cassidy A, Rimm EB, O’Reilly EJ, Logroscino G, Kay C, Chiuve SE, Rexrode KM. Dietary flavonoids and risk of stroke in women. Stroke. 2012 Apr;43(4):946-51.
Gironés-Vilaplana A, Valentão P, Moreno DA, Ferreres F, Garcia-Viguera C, Andrade PB. New beverages of lemon juice enriched with the exotic berries Maqui, Açaí, and Blackthorn: bioactive components and in vitro biological properties. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 May 29.