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Posted: January 29, 2008

Vitamin C (Naturally) Can Guard Against Stroke

High concentrations of vitamin C, the so-called sunshine vitamin, in your blood may help cut your risk of stroke, experts say.

Reporting in the January issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, British researchers said participants in a medical study who had the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood were 42% less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest levels of the supplement.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England reached their conclusion after a study of more than 20,000 people for nearly 10 years. They said their findings were consistent even after the consideration of other factors that may induce stroke, such as age, sex, smoking habits, body mass index, blood pressure, and alcohol consumption.

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As might be expected, the scientists also found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables produced more vitamin C in their blood. However, the researchers did not conclude that the lower stroke risk itself was triggered by the amount of vitamin C-containing fruits and vegetables one ate. The one constant, they said, is that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is a positive factor in maintaining good cardiovascular health.

"We don't know what it is, but the message to the public is clear," Dr. Mark Levine of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases told WebMD in an interview. "Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Think about color, and eat a rainbow of plant foods. That is a pretty simple thing to do."

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