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Citrus Curbs Obesity Risks

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Eating Citrus Fruit Could Help Prevent Chronic Diseases Caused by Obesity 

Winter is the prime season for enjoying all your favorite citrus fruits: juicy oranges, tangy grapefruit, luscious tangerines and sweet clementines. Best known for being high in vitamin C, citrus fruits also pack phytochemicals that could mean big things for your health. One reason to get peeling: Flavanones found in these fruits could help curb the detrimental effects of obesity. 

In a 2016 study, Brazilian researchers fed mice a standard diet, a high-fat diet, or a high-fat diet plus citrus flavanones. After one month on the high-fat diet levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (or TBARS, which are of markers of cell damage) increased by up to 80% compared to a standard diet—that makes sense for an unhealthy diet. But when flavanones were on the menu, levels of TBARS actually decreased by up to 64%, showing these compounds helped curtail the detrimental effects of unhealthy food.  

Now we wouldn’t say this research gives license to throw in the towel on a healthy diet so long as there’s citrus on the plate. It does mean eating citrus fruits could help prevent chronic diseases and other harmful effects of obesity (a condition that plagues nearly 38% of adults in the United States). Keep in mind, extra flavanones didn’t result in weight loss, so healthy diet and exercise are both still vastly important to shed the pounds. 

Grocery shelves are stocked with citrus options during the winter season, so there’s no better time to try something new. Ever had a blood orange? What about a cara cara? You may be surprised and find a new favorite fruit! Get your citrus on with our Tropical Ambrosia Salad made with oranges, pineapple, star fruit, mango, bananas and papaya. 

BONUS: Flavonoids in citrus fruits have been linked to both lower risk of ovarian cancer and increased odds of healthy aging.

Published December 1, 2016

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