For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of citrus fruits is good old vitamin C. The thing is, for most people in the western world, it's almost impossible not to get enough vitamin C, unless of course you've got some additional health complications. So why should we increase our intake of citrus fruits, you ask? Well, according to new research out of London, Ontario from the University of Western Ontario, a compound found in citrus fruits could help prevent weight gain and halt the development of metabolic syndrome.
According to the researchers, a flavinoid (plant-based phytonutrient and antioxidant) called naringenin could help prevent type 2 diabetes and lower the risk of heart disease by correcting the elevation of blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels as well as preventing the development of insulin resistance and stabilizing blood glucose. The researchers suspect that this is achieved by the liver which burns excess fat instead of storing it as it normally would in situations where excess fat is floating around.
The researchers fed two groups of mice high-fat diets representative of a typical Western diet, but one group's diet was supplemented with naringenin. The group that was fed only a high-fat diet became markedly obese, but this was not the case with the group treated with naringenin.
According to Murray Huff, Director of the Vascular Biology Research Group at Robarts and Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry "These studies show naringenin, through its insulin-like properties, corrects many of the metabolic disturbances linked to insulin resistance and represents a promising therapeutic approach for metabolic syndrome."
So, while this finding looks really promising for the future, it doesn't mean you should go crazy and load up on grapefruits, oranges and lemons. Adding a few more citrus fruits into your diet is fine - especially if you add a slice of lemon or orange into your glass of water, but for godssake, PLEASE DON'T go on the grapefruit diet!!