Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruit in a diet could reduce the chance of chronic diseases that are related to obesity, according to a new study.
Citrus fruits contain antioxidants. New research is giving more evidence about how antioxidants protect the cells inside one’s body.
There is a substance in citrus fruits called flavanones. Flavanones are antioxidants that help people’s bodies reduce the amount of stress. The diseases linked to obesity are caused by stress and inflammation.
Rio Red Grapefruit.
Paula Ferreira is a researcher at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil. She did the research and spoke of the results.
“…[W]e can use citrus flavanones, a class of antioxidants, to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans,” said Ferreira.
Researchers also discovered citrus could help people who are not obese but eat a Western-style diet, she said.
A Western-style diet includes foods with fats and red meat.
Researchers say antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, such as citrus flavanones, help keep a good balance of chemicals in the bodies of animals that eat a high fat diet, even when they are under stress.
Ferreira said the best way to get antioxidants is to drink them. Millions stay healthy by drinking orange juice each morning.
The experiment by Ferreira and colleagues involved 50 mice. They fed the mice either a normal diet, a high fat diet, or a high fat diet with three flavanones.
Researchers found the mice that ate a high fat diet, but no flavanones, had significantly higher levels of cell damage. The experiment lasted one month.
Researchers now plan to conduct human studies. Researchers want to see whether it is healthier to give citrus flavanones in juice or pill form.
The researchers presented their findings at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Pennsylvania.
I’m Jill Robbins.
Jessica Berman wrote this story for VOA News. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story
citrus – n. a juicy fruit that has a thick skin and that comes from a tree or shrub that grows in warm areas
lemon – n. a yellow citrus fruit that has a sour taste
grapefruit – n. a large yellow citrus fruit
chronic – adj. continuing or occurring again and again for a long time
obesity – n. fat in a way that is unhealthy
inflammation – n. a condition in which a part of your body becomes red, swollen, and painful
pill – n. a small, rounded object that you swallow and that contains medicine or vitamins