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Happy Heart's Recipes

Chef Happy Heart

These Citrus Fruit Recipes can Decrease Stroke Risk

By Liz Moore, RD, LDN

A new study has shown that citrus fruits can help lower your risk of stroke. An earlier study found a link between increased consumption of white-fleshed fruits and lower stroke risk, but found no link for citrus. With the newer study, however, yellow- and orange-fleshed fruits have a place of honor next to apples and pears.

What good timing! Early spring is peak season for citrus and the mouth-watering flavors of ripe citrus fruits are rivaled only by their heart healthy benefits. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which protect cells from damage, as well as fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. And, according to another recent study, flavonoids, a heart-healthy compound found in citrus fruits, may lower the risk of ischemic stroke by preventing the blockage of arteries leading to the brain by as much as 19 percent.

The beauty of citrus fruits is that they taste delicious both raw and cooked. While cooking with citrus does destroy the vitamin C, don't feel as though you need to avoid recipes with grilled or cooked fruit - these recipes add another dimension of flavor and keep fruit exciting to eat - so long as you balance your consumption of cooked with the stroke-reducing vitamin C-rich uncooked citrus. Eating a good variety of citrus is another way to obtain all the heart health benefits. Different fruits also offer a variety of different nutrients, which is why you may have heard the advice to include an assortment of produce colors in your diet. We've compiled a few delicious citrus recipes for you to try this season.

Tangy Tuna Steak

tuna steakServes 4


4 4-oz. tuna steaks
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients except the tuna steaks in a bowl and whisk. Dip each tuna steak in mixture to coat. Cook tuna on grill for about five minutes on one side; turn and cook about five minutes on the other side (adjust time to desired doneness).

Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves 4


1/3 cup orange juice
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp honey mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Pepper to taste


Whisk all ingredients together and add to green salad.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 92, Total Fat: 6.5 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 45 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 8 g, Total Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 1 g

Fresh Oranges with Pomegranate

orange with pomegranateServes 6


1 pomegranate
4 oranges
2 tbsp lemon juice


Section the oranges and place in a bowl. Seed the pomegranate and toss with orange sections. Add lemon juice and serve chilled.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 84, Total Fat: 0 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 3 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 21 g, Total Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 1 g

Colorful Citrus Salad

Serves 4


5 cups arugula
1 pink grapefruit, sectioned
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp pecans
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard


Whisk together vinegar, oil and mustard to make dressing. Combine all other ingredients into a bowl and add dressing.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 135, Total Fat: 9 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 11 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 13 g, Total Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 2 g

Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy nutrition. She is a registered dietitian in the CardioVascular Institute (CVI) at BIDMC. She sees patients in the BIDMC outpatient nutrition clinic and the CVI's Cardiovascular Health and Lipid Center.

Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted April 2012

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215