Citrus fruits aren't just refreshing—they can also reduce the risk of suffering from a stroke. Research outlined by Dr. Michael Greger for The Daily Mail has found that a phytonutrient called hesperidin, found in foods like oranges, helps increase blood flow through the body, including the brain.
A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is restricted, hence depriving the brain of oxygen.
A machine called a doppler fluximeter, which uses a laser beam to measure the blood flow, revealed that hesperidin, found in two glasses of orange juice, boosted movement of blood in the body. Things flowed even better when participants drank actual orange juice over a solution, making the fruit a must-have for health.
Dr. Greger also highlights the importance of antioxidants in the diet to also help ward off a stroke.
"Why do we need antioxidants?" he quizzes readers. "Because of free radicals—molecules that can damage your genes and cause mutations in the chromosomes which lead to cancer.
"Free-radical damage accumulates in cells all through your lifetime—and, at a certain point, the cells can no longer survive. However, you can slow down this process by eating foods containing lots of antioxidants. These appear to protect against stroke by preventing the circulation of oxidised fats in the bloodstream."
He detailed a study carried out by researchers in Sweden, which followed over 30,000 older women over 12 years and found that the more antioxidant-rich foods they ate, the lower the stroke risk.
So what foods should you be snacking on? It's well known that blueberries pack a mighty antioxidant punch, and can be easily incorporated into your breakfast smoothie or lunchtime salad. Walnuts and pecans also make the cut, as do kidney beans, artichokes and dark chocolate (in small doses!).
It's been found that antioxidant supplements don't help as much, therefore it's important you keep your diet packed full of the goods rather than relying on tablets or sashays.