Lemon ice creams may be low in calories, but a new study says they may actually be helping to prevent heart disease.
A team of scientists led by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Robert Lustig analyzed more than 8,000 published studies and concluded that lemon ice cream was “more effective” than other forms of fruit ice cream.
The researchers say they have yet to confirm their findings.
Lustig, who has been working on a new research program, analyzed data on the effectiveness of lemon ice creamphes on the incidence of heart disease and mortality.
He says that data could help to establish a safe level of lemon consumption.
The team also found that eating lemon ice-creams reduced blood pressure in the elderly, and may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
According to the Harvard study, the incidence rate of cardiovascular death was about twice as high for those who ate more than 1,000 servings per day compared with those who consumed less than 200 servings per week.
But the researchers say the results don’t show that eating more than 200 lemon ice cones per day will reduce the risk for heart disease or diabetes.
The Harvard study also found higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, less alcohol consumption, and less smoking, among other healthy lifestyle behaviors, reduced the risk associated with heart disease by 26 percent.
However, researchers note that the study was limited by limited data from different studies.
It may not be possible to generalize to other healthy lifestyles, Lustig says.
“I don’t know how to say that this study really provides a reason to get lemon ice ice cream,” Lustig said.
“I don’st know if you have to be a big fan of eating lemon to have a better health.”
Lustiger said the Harvard team’s analysis also was limited because of limited sample sizes.
The group did not look at fruit and vegetable consumption.
However a Harvard spokeswoman says the study’s findings should be taken with a grain of salt because the researchers only looked at the incidence and mortality rates.
“The primary purpose of the study is to establish that a high intake of dietary antioxidants, such as flavonoids and flavonol esters, is protective against heart disease,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
“There is a strong body of evidence that antioxidants can help protect against the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and it is possible that such antioxidants can reduce the incidence or mortality of heart attacks and strokes.”
The Harvard group has already published several studies, including one that showed consuming 1,500 servings of lemon a day was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke.
Dr. Michael Siegel, a nutrition expert and professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, agrees that lemon is not the best option for a healthful diet.
He believes the study shows that eating less lemon ice would be better for you than drinking too much water or eating too many fruit and vegetables.
“But I’m not saying that lemon isn’t beneficial for the heart, but it’s not necessarily the best choice,” Siegel said.
The researchers have yet come to an answer on how much lemon juice a person should consume, but Siegel says there are ways to help.
He recommends drinking about two to three glasses of water daily.
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