French scientists say eating fruits rich in Vitamin C could help reduce the risk of hemorrhagic stroke or bleeding in the brain.
Research conducted at Pontchaillou University Hospital in Rennes, France, suggests that foods with high vitamin C content could prevent stroke.
The small study, which included 135 people, of which 65 people had suffered from a blood vessel rupture in the brain-intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke, found that 41 percent of study participants had normal levels of vitamin C while 45 percent had low levels and 14 percent had a deficiency. People who had lower levels of vitamin were more likely to have suffered from a stroke and be hospitalized longer than people with high levels. Although researchers’ findings were based on the levels of the vitamin C found in participants’ blood, they are unsure of the extent to which stroke risks are connected to the vitamin.
“Our results show that vitamin C deficiency should be considered a risk factor for this severe type of stroke,” Stéphane Vannier, the study’s author, said in a statement, pointing out that the vitamin may regulate blood pressure but more research is required to determine specifically how it works. “Larger studies are needed to explore these relationships and hypotheses.”
Vitamin C—important for maintaining healthy skin, bones and teeth—is a water soluble vitamin, meaning it is not stored in the body and must be acquired through diet or supplements.
Adults require about 75 to 90 mg of vitamin C daily, but the study’s researchers suggest a minimum intake of 120 grams of the vitamin each day. Fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, grapefruits and papaya contain high amounts of vitamin C, as do vegetables including broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, cabbage and white and sweet potatoes.
Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a vessel bursts flooding the spaces around brain cells with blood, restricting oxygen supply. Hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes are less common but deadlier than clot-caused ischemic strokes, which according to the American Heart Association make up 87 percent of all stroke cases.
The study’s results will be formally presented at the 66th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held between April 26 and May 3 in Philadelphia, Pa.