Clinical trials show that more than one third of the adults in the United States are overweight. Being overweight causes a variety of chronic illnesses and diseases such as liver disease, heart problems, diabetes, stress and inflammation. Eating citrus fruits containing antioxidants is believed to prevent these diseases, and contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Colored fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, the largest group of plant chemicals, belonging to the phytonutrients group. Both phytonutrients and carotenoids are responsible for the bright colors we see in our vegetables and fruits. The phytonutrients group has more than 6,000 types, while flavonoids have several groups. Nevertheless, these antioxidants are available in abundance in citrus fruits, and have been linked to lower oxidation stress in vitro, and clinical tested animals.
What Does the Study Reveal?
When people eat foods high in fat, their bodies retain the fat. Fat cells produce a toxic environment which causes damage or oxidative stress to the cells. Although the body is designed to fight off most chemical changes with oxidants, obese people have enlarged fat cells, which leads to much higher levels of reactive oxygen. These high levels in turn overwhelm the body’s fighting ability to ward them off.
An experiment conducted at the University Estadual Paulista in Brazil used 50 mice, where each mouse was treated with flavanones from lemons, limes, and oranges. The three flavanones researchers were most interested in were eriodictyol, hesperidin, and eriocitrin. For 30 days, the test subjects were given a high-fat diet plus hesperidin, a high-fat diet plus eriodictyol, a high-fat diet plus eriocitrin, a high-fat diet, or a regular standard diet.
It’s a known fact that fatty foods and high fat diets destroy the cells in the body. Obesity contributes to health problems, which leads to chronic illnesses and diseases. Although weight loss can lower the risk of developing some diseases such as type 2 diabetes, the true risk lowering factor comes from eating the right foods.
Weight Loss Not Associated With Citrus Fruits, But Can Lead to a Healthy Lifestyle
The studies were not targeted at weight loss, but the studies did confirm that while undergoing the test, the subject mice were made healthier. The citrus flavanones reduced lipids, lowered glucose levels and oxidative stress, and lowered the risk of liver damage. These studies also suggest that eating a well-rounded amount of citrus fruits can provide beneficial results for people who are not struggling with a weight problem, but who have high fat diets. If this is the case, people in this category will experience a lower risk of developing abdominal obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Next Level of Antioxidant Use
Next, the researchers will explore another beneficial avenue that will help them to decide the best method to administer the flavonoids. The studies will search for the best way to consume them; by drinking plenty of fruit juice, to eat the fruit itself, or perhaps take a pill. Although the studies were successful with mice, the team is waiting to conduct studies using human models.
This information can change the way people view citrus fruits, and perhaps give them a natural alternative to eating healthy and living longer. The researchers are introducing the conclusion of their finding at the 252nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.