Citrus Fruit Antioxidants May Prevent Chronic Diseases

Citrus Fruit Antioxidants May Prevent Chronic Diseases Citrus Fruit Antioxidants May Prevent Chronic Diseases

A class of antioxidants found in oranges, limes, and lemons may help prevent the harmful effects of obesity as was seen in mice fed a western high-fat diet, researchers find.

Citrus fruits contain several antioxidants that may prevent a range of health concerns. According to a recent article exploring the health benefits of popular foods, citrus fruits may lower ischemic stroke risk, maintain blood pressure, and support heart health.

Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which are the largest group of phytonutrients - plant chemicals - with more than 6,000 types. Phytonutrients along with carotenoids are responsible for the vivid colors of fruits and vegetables,

There are several groups of flavonoids, including anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavones, flavanones and isoflavones. Flavanones, such as hesperidin, eriocitrin, and eriodictyol, are abundant in citrus fruits and have been associated with lowering oxidative stress in vitro and animal models.

“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.

The investigators are presenting the results of the study at the upcoming 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The team, at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) in Brazil, treated 50 mice with flavanones - hesperidin, eriocitrin, and eriodictyol - found in oranges, lemons, and limes.

Our studies did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones,” says Thais B. Cesar, PhD, 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.”

“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,” said Ferreira.  Future studies will explore the best ways to administer the flavanones comparing delivery through fruit juice, consuming fruits, or developing an antioxidant pill, the team said.