Friday, February 24, 2012


We have all heard of the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctors away. There is some truth in this statement of old. Orange is slightly better than apple.
The Feb 23rd edition of STROKE on-line, carries a study by Dr Aedin cassidy of east Anglia University, UK. She was reporting on the follow-up of the Nurses' Health Study. The Nurses' Health Study is a very big study, started in 1990, to follow-up nurses and see their health profile over the many years. One of the items under study was food. From 1990, the Nurses in the study were asked to fill in a "Food Frequency Questionaire ( FFQ )". Every 4 years, they were asked to fill in new ones, as a follow up. Over the years of follow up, all hospital admissions and deaths were recorded from hospital records. 69,622 nurses met the criteria from their baseline FFQ. After 30 years, there were 1803 strokes, of which 943 were ischemic strokes, 253 hemorraghic strokes and 607 strokes could not be accurately determined. When they match the strokes to their fruit intake, they found that consuming citrus fruits, especially fresh orange and apples, had a 19% reduction in the number of ischemic strokes over the 30 years. Even fresh fruit juices were good. Although blueberries, teas and dark chocolates were good, but they were not as good as fresh citrus fruits. It was quite surprising that dark chocolates did not make much of a difference in stroke prevention, as oppose to some other studies.
It could be that fresh citrus fruits are rich in anti-inflammatory substances, which may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. there was no difference in the number of hemorraghic strokes. It may be that fresh citrus fruits contain significant amount of potassium, and so their BP control was better.
It is important to note that canned and package fruit juices do not confer the same benefit. The sugar added raises the incidence of diabetes which seem to negate the benefit of the fresh citrus fruits.
Yes, there is some truth that an orange or apple a day, or a cup of fresk citrus fruit juice a day keeps the doctor / neurologist away.

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