Oranges help to tackle obesity—Study

Though the field of medicine continues to advance and branch out in so many ways, nutritionists and health experts continue to praise the benefits of some foods.

In fact, eating citrus fruits like oranges, grape fruits, lime and lemon has been shown to lower ischemic stroke risk, maintain blood pressure, and support heart health by preventing the harmful effects of obesity.

Citrus are rich in several antioxidants, which are chemical substances that may prevent a range of health concerns. Experts exploring the health benefits of citrus fruits found that it prevented the harmful effects of obesity in mice fed a Western high-fat diet.

In the study, the researchers treated 50 mice with flavanones, an antioxidant and chemical substance in oranges, lemons, and limes that has antioxidant properties, over a period of a month.

Mice fed this citrus extract had a reduced fat accumulation and damage in the liver by at least 50 per cent unlike compared with mice on the high-fat non-citrus extract diet.

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

Obesity is a significant factor in increasing the risk of developing heart disease, liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. Consuming a diet high in fat can lead to a build up of fat in the human body. Fat cells produce excessive reactive oxygen species, which can damage cells.

While the body can fight off oxidative stress molecules with antioxidants, obese patients have enlarged fat cells, which can lead to higher levels of oxidative stress that overwhelms the body’s ability to counteract them.

According to Dr Thais B. Cesar, the study’s team lead, “Our studies did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones. 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.”

Previously, new analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study has shown that high intake of flavanones, a subclass of flavonoids found in the greatest concentrations in oranges and grapefruit, is associated with a 19 per cent lower risk for ischemic stroke in women who drank one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice a day.

Some experts encourage people to eat up to two oranges per day for the fruit’s beneficial phytochemicals, flavanoids and vitamin C content. But the best way to consume oranges is in moderation, pairing them with other healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to ensure a balanced diet.

Also, experts have found that onions, green tea and olive leaf extract can fight obesity and its related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and fatty liver, even when a high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet is indulged in.

In the 2011 edition of Journal of Nutrition and the Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, they indicated that onions and olive leaf extract contain a flavonoid called rutin — also found in apples, tea and red wine — that reversed or prevented metabolic changes in rats fed the high-sugar, high-fat diet.

In 2013, scientists in a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, also discovered that a component of grapefruit and other citrus fruits may successfully block the development of kidney cysts and possibly a candidate treatment for polycystic kidney disease.

Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited disorder that causes cysts to develop in the kidneys. The disease can lead to loss of kidney function, high blood pressure leading to heart attack and stroke, as well as brain aneurysms. Onset is most common between the ages of 30 and 60.

Also, a bit of lemon and its peel may help to control diabetes by helping to improve insulin resistance. A key ingredient found in lemon peels is polyphenols, which plays a major role in minimising insulin resistance. An increase in insulin resistance leads to less responsiveness from the insulin hormone, resulting in uncontrolled levels of blood sugar.