By Dena Schmidt
(NaturalHealth365) While it’s been known that citrus fruit is an important part of a healthy diet, researchers now believe they may be key in preventing weight-related health problems.
A new study has shown that citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes contain a type of antioxidant that counteracts some of the serious health risks of obesity. Adding more citrus fruits in an overweight person’s diet may help them to have a reduced risk of issues such as heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.
Why citrus fruit is a smart choice for the immune system
When a person consumes a high-fat diet, the body stores the fat it can’t immediately use in cells throughout the body. These fat cells produce a substance that damages other healthy cells. This is called oxidative stress, and it is normally dealt with by the immune system with its own antioxidants. However, overweight people who continue to eat high-fat foods can overwhelm the immune system’s ability to respond and prevent disease.
This is where foods that contain high levels of antioxidants can help. Citrus fruit contains a special form of antioxidant called flavanones. These substances appear to reduce the risk of oxidative stress and the damage to healthy cells. This also takes the pressure off the overworked immune system.
Flavanones in citrus fruits reduce health risks in obese persons
The study was performed on groups of mice with varying diets. Some groups were fed a normal diet, while others were placed on a high-fat diet. Some of the mice on the high-fat diet were given a dose of the flavanones found in citrus fruits. A month into the study, the mice were checked for specific indicators in the blood and liver that show the presence of cell-damaging substances.
As expected, the mice fed a high-fat diet showed an increase in these indicators. Mice on the high-fat diet that also consumed flavanones showed a decreased level of indicators in their blood and liver – more than 50 percent in some cases. Some of the mice treated with flavanones showed less damage and fat build-up in the liver. Researchers noted that while introducing the flavanones to the mice on the high-fat diet reduced damage, it did not make them lose weight.
Start adding citrus fruit in the diet to prevent disease
The addition of flavanones in the diet promotes health by counteracting the effects of fat cells on the body. Eating citrus fruits helps to reduce liver damage, lower the amount of fat in the blood, and reduce glucose levels in the blood. Besides the benefits of antioxidants to the health of overweight people, a diet that includes citrus fruit can benefit people of any weight, reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The next step is to determine the best way to get concentrated forms of the flavanones into people’s diets. Whether in juice or pill form, flavanones may prove a potent natural way to battle heart and liver disease. Of course, as a general rule, remember to eat plenty of citrus fruits and veggies – on a regular basis – to prevent disease.