Citrus polyphenols and their benefits for cardiovascular health
Popular for their sharp, fruity flavour, citrus fruits also offer a number of health benefits, primarily due to their high concentration of polyphenols, or more specifically, flavonoids. These natural pigments are known for their antioxidant potency which enables them to protect our cells against free radical damage and thus combat cellular ageing. Flavonoids may also have beneficial effects on vascular function, as reported in December 2016 in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition1
Protective effect for the cardiovascular system
The study examined the flavonoids present in fruits of the Citrus
genus, which includes lemons, grapefruit, pomelos and mandarins. The flavonoids in these fruits are called flavanones. The aim of the study was to assess the postprandial impact of these molecules on vascular function, ie, the effects of flavanone consumption on blood circulation. The researchers monitored the effects of consuming drinks with varying flavanone content in 59 healthy male volunteers aged 30-65. The men were given either orange juice that contained 128mg or 272mg of flavanones, or homogenised whole orange with 452mg of flavanones, or a control drink that was flavanone-free. All subjects consumed their drinks after eating a meal containing exactly 81 grams of fat. Analyses were then conducted at intervals of 0, 2, 5 and 7 hours after the drinks were consumed. This enabled the researchers to evaluate how the flavanones affected endothelial function which plays an essential role in the cardiovascular system. On completion of their analysis, they concluded that the flavanones had a positive effect on endothelial function and that these antioxidant molecules may therefore be able counteract certain negative effects - including on vascular function - of a high-fat meal. .
Hesperidin and naringin, powerful flavonoids
These cardiovascular benefits can be attributed to hesperidin and naringin, two flavonoids known for their antioxidant potency. Found in significant concentrations in grapefruit, naringin has been the subject of numerous scientific studies in recent years due to its therapeutic potential. With its antioxidant power, it acts at several levels within the body. Scientists had already referred to its benefits for cardiovascular health in 2014 in a review of early preclinical evidence 2
. The authors of this review concluded that naringin may represent a potential new option for combatting certain cardiovascular problems such as atherosclerosis.
These new findings add to existing evidence from the many studies conducted on naringin. We have already discussed the benefits of these antioxidant flavonoids in another article on the exceptional properties of grapefruit.
> Source :
1. Catarina Rendeiro et al., Flavanone-rich citrus beverages counteract the transient decline in postprandial endothelial function in humans: a randomised, controlled, double-masked, cross-over intervention study, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 116, Issue 12 December 2016, pp. 1999-2010.
2. Bharti S, Rani N, Krishnamurthy B, Arya DS, « Preclinical evidence for the pharmacological actions of naringin: a review », Planta Med, 2014 Apr, 80(6):437-51.
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