A compound found in oranges could help treat obesity and reduce the risk of related diseases, a new study has found. Even on a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet, drinking enough orange juice a day can have a significant impact on obesity, the researchers note. In addition, the study found beneficial compounds to reduce the number of arterial plaques.
The beneficial compound found in oranges is called nobilitin; it is an flavonoid found in citrus peels, some of which remain on fruit after peeling. According to a new study from the University of Weston, the molecule has many potential health benefits and is a boon for people with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers say they may need only half a cup of orange juice a day to “reverse” obesity, and they say it can also reverse the formation of arterial plaques in obese mice. The rodents fed a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet had lower insulin resistance and a thinner body than mice fed the same diet but not nobilitine.
Although it’s not clear how this molecule produces these effects, the researchers explain that nobilitine may work by increasing the energy produced by burning fat and may prevent “fat production.” However, tests on mice that were genetically engineered and lacked the relevant regulatory factors showed that there may have been other activity.
Of course, there is a big question: Does nobilitine do the same for humans as it does to mice? If future studies prove to be the case, then oranges – or more specifically this particular molecule – could be promising treatments to help reduce obesity, which in some countries exceeds the WHO’s “tipping point.”