Ensuring the highest level of cardiovascular health possible should be a priority for you, whether or not you're already living with any form of heart disease.
If you've already been diagnosed with a cardiac condition, maintaining a strong level of health can help you better manage the effects of that condition. Smart, preventive measures can also help you avoid heart issues in the first place. Luckily, there's a lot you can do to ensure that your heart stays healthy.
Establishing a regular exercise routine that works your cardiovascular system is a good step, as is reducing lifestyle risk factors such as overconsumption of unhealthy foods or smoking.
What you may not know, though, is that foods containing large amounts of citrus may have special benefits for your heart health.
Common benefits of citrus
Citrus fruits provide a host of benefits to your cardiovascular system and your whole body.
According to Health, high consumption of citrus fruits has been shown in studies to significantly reduce the risk of certain types of stroke in women.
Specifically, women who regularly consume grapefruit and oranges, which are known for their high flavonoid levels, saw a nearly 20 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than those who didn't. Of course, these fruits aren't exclusively beneficial to women, as men can also see a great deal of good come from consuming these flavonoid-intensive foods. For example, fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and lemons all have a high level of vitamin C, which is believed to lower general risk of heart disease.
Know what you’re getting
Not all citrus products are going to deliver the same benefits. For example, it's a common misconception that fruit drinks will contain high amounts of citrus. While many will, it's imperative to attempt to select products that contain 100 percent juice. Read the ingredients labels—some products are mostly water sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
Consult your doctor
Sure, there are tons of benefits to regularly consuming citrus fruits. For example, EatingWell reports that limes, lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits may help boost HDL, also known as "good cholesterol."
Consult with your doctor before beginning any new dietary regimen though, as some of these foods may interfere with your medication regimen. If you're taking statins to lower blood pressure, for example, grapefruit products may minimize the effectiveness of your prescription.