Eating more oranges and vegetables may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, nutrition and medical researchers said last week at an annual meeting of food scientists sponsored by the Institute of Food Technologists.
Dr. Frank Speizer of Harvard Medical School said research has consistently shown that increased intake of citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables--such as cabbage and broccoli--is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Citing a study of 75,000 female nurses and 38,000 male health professionals, Speizer said eating more fruit was also associated with reduced risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
There is some evidence that nutrients found in orange juice--specifically, potassium, folic acid and vitamin C--may protect against cardiovascular disease. Certain orange juice ingredients may fight viruses, inflammation and cell damage that can lead to cancer, as well as protect against blood clots and the build-up of plaque in arteries.
A clinical trial conducted at the University of Western Ontario showed that drinking three eight-ounce glasses of orange juice a day increased HDL ("good") cholesterol by 21% and reduced the ratio of LDL ("bad") cholesterol to HDL by 16%. HDL has been shown to be protective against heart disease and, apart from regular heavy exercise, there we do not know of an easy, universally available way to increase it. Eating more citrus fruit may be a protective strategy.
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