Drinking a glass of orange juice each day may cut the risk of deadly strokes by almost a quarter, a major study suggests.
Volunteers who downed a juice a day saw their risk of a brain clot drop by 24 per cent, according to the decade-long trial.
Researchers in the Netherlands say it’s not just orange juice that has the benefit, other fruit juices also appear to cut the risk.
Fresh fruit juices have long been thought of as healthy. But consumers in recent years have been put off by warnings over their high sugar content.
As a result, UK sales have fallen steadily from a peak in 2011 of over one billion litres a year to just under 900m in 2017.
But the latest study suggests the health benefits in terms of stroke prevention could outweigh the risks from sugar content.
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition is a major long-running study investigating the influence of diet on a wide range of illnesses.
Scientists at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, in Bilthoven, tracked nearly 35,000 men and women aged between 20 and 70 for almost 15 years.
They looked at how self-reported consumption of fruit juices compared with the numbers of strokes over that period.
Their results, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed four to eight glasses a week of orange or any other fruit juice cut stroke risk by almost a quarter.
Even a glass every other day had significant benefits – lowering risk by 20 per cent.
Rates of heart disease were also reduced in regular drinkers, who were 12 to 13 per cent less likely to suffer with damaged arteries.
Juice is thought to contain many of the naturally-occurring plant substances found in whole fruit that can protect blood vessels against disease.
Strokes kill around 200 people every day in the UK. Many more are left disabled and living in fear that a second or even third attack could kill them.
It’s estimated to cost the NHS £2.3billion a year to treat and look after those lucky enough to survive.
Around 85 per cent of victims are affected by ischaemic strokes, where a clot travels to the brain and shuts off its blood supply.
The rest are called haemorrhagic strokes, where a blood vessel bursts in the brain, causing potentially fatal bleeding.
Scientists behind the study said despite the obvious benefits of juice, they would still recommend eating whole fruit as well, as there are more studies confirming its benefits.
In a report on the findings they said: ‘We found a favorable association with pure fruit juice consumption.
‘But for now, consumption of whole fruit should be preferred because the evidence of the health benefits is more conclusive.’