Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods.  We all know that’s true, but it’s important for us to know how and why, as well.  It not only help us to feel good about our dietary choices, it also helps us choose healthy foods more carefully, according to our own specific needs.  Especially as we age, some may be concerned about specific conditions which may be preventable.  Heart disease and stroke are high on the list of issues that people take more seriously as they mature in life.

Eating foods that contain vitamin C may reduce your risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.

Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, papaya, peppers, broccoli and strawberries.  Hemorrhagic stroke is less common than ischemic stroke, but is more often deadly.

The study involved 65 people who had experienced an intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke, or a blood vessel rupture inside the brain. They were compared to 65 healthy people. Participants were tested for the levels of vitamin C in their blood. Forty-one percent of cases had normal levels of vitamin C, 45 percent showed depleted levels of vitamin C and 14 percent were considered deficient of the vitamin.

On average, the people who had a stroke had depleted levels of vitamin C, while those who had not had a stroke had normal levels of the vitamin.

“Our results show that vitamin C deficiency should be considered a risk factor for this severe type of stroke, as were high blood pressure, drinking alcohol and being overweight in our study,” said study author Stéphane Vannier, MD, with Pontchaillou University Hospital in Rennes, France. “More research is needed to explore specifically how vitamin C may help to reduce stroke risk. For example, the vitamin may regulate blood pressure.”

Vannier adds that vitamin C appears to have other benefits like creating collagen, a protein found in bones, skin and tissues.  Vitamin C deficiency has also been linked to heart disease.

This is the kind of study really embraces.  It’s exciting to see a connection drawn between consuming specific foods and reduced risk of health problems.  It’s great to have a clear understanding of the advantages those foods bring us so that we can make a conscious decision to adjust our dietary habits accordingly.   Everyone feels better being proactive about their health.  Adding fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C  to our diet is another way for us to take additional steps to help ourselves stay healthy throughout our lives.