Citrus fruits help prevent heart and liver disease

Citrus fruits help prevent heart and liver disease

Citrus fruits help prevent heart and liver disease, according to a new study from Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil.

It is well known that citrus fruits are great for the immune system and overall health, because of the potent antioxidants and vitamins they contain.

Our results indicate that in the future we can use citrus flavanones, a class of antioxidants, to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans,” says Paula S. Ferreira, a graduate student with the research team.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of all U.S. adults are obese. Obesity increases the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes.

The press release provided the following study details:

The team, at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil, conducted an experiment with 50 mice, treating them with flavanones found in oranges, limes and lemons. The flavanones they focused on were hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol. For one month, researchers gave groups either a standard diet, a high-fat diet, a high-fat diet plus hesperidin, a high-fat diet plus eriocitrin or a high-fat diet plus eriodictyol.

The high-fat diet without the flavanones increased the levels of cell-damage markers called thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by 80 percent in the blood and 57 percent in the liver compared to mice on a standard diet. But hesperidin, eriocitrin and eriodictyol decreased the TBARS levels in the liver by 50 percent, 57 percent and 64 percent, respectively, compared with mice fed a high-fat diet but not given flavanones. Eriocitrin and eriodictyol also reduced TBARS levels in the blood by 48 percent and 47 percent, respectively, in these mice. In addition, mice treated with hesperidin and eriodictyol had reduced fat accumulation and damage in the liver.

Our studies did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones,” says Thais B. Cesar, Ph.D., who leads the team. “However, even without helping the mice lose weight, they made them healthier with lower oxidative stress, less liver damage, lower blood lipids and lower blood glucose.”

Ferreira adds, “This study also suggests that consuming citrus fruits probably could have beneficial effects for people who are not obese, but have diets rich in fats, putting them at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity.”

The study showing that citrus fruits help prevent heart and liver disease will be presented at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

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REFERENCES:
1. “Citrus Fruits Could Help Prevent Obesity-related Heart Disease, Liver Disease, Diabetes.” EurekAlert! American Chemical Society, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.

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