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Low Vitamin C Increases Stroke Risk

Half a Glass of OJ a Day May Fight Strokes

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"Stroke is a disease of older people, and they are the ones that are suffering the most. And many of them are not eating a well-balanced diet," says Kurl. "A minimum of a half glass of juice [that contains vitamin C, such as orange juice] per day could contribute to this reduction in risk."

Registered dietician Jo Ann Hattner, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, agrees that incorporating more vitamin C rich foods is the best way to get the most out of this powerful vitamin.

Both Hattner and Kurl say previous studies have shown that taking vitamin C supplements doesn't necessarily have the same protective effects as getting your daily dose of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

"We like to think that vitamin C in natural sources has some special synergy and works with other elements in the food to make it more effective in creating a line of defense," Hattner tells WebMD.

"The problem with the elderly is that they may not want the acidity in their diet and may avoid orange juice," says Hattner.

Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, can cause heartburn or acid reflux (a back-up of stomach acids into the esophagus) in some people. But Hattner says eating or drinking citrus products with other foods can minimize this effect.

Even squeezing some lemon or lime juice on salads or vegetables can add an extra dose of vitamin C to your diet, suggests Hattner. Other, lesser-known sources of vitamin C that people often overlook include strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, broccoli, and cabbage.

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