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Citrus for Heart Health

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Acommon flavanone called hesperidin found in citrus fruit may help protect against heart disease, according to a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in Current Developments in Nutrition. Researchers analyzed 12 studies involving 589 participants that examined the effects of hesperidin extracts on various outcomes, such as inflammatory markers, body mass index, insulin resistance and lipids.

After accounting for variability across the groups of participants, researchers found that hesperidin significantly reduced both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) in obese individuals under age 50 that consumed approximately 500 milligrams per day of hesperidin for more than six weeks. It also had a positive impact on inflammatory markers, insulin sensitivity and fasting blood glucose.

Beneficial effects were not noted on other risk factors of heart disease, such as high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol), triglycerides, body mass index and blood pressure. Hesperidin can be found in oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and grapefruit, in whole fruit or juice form and in commercially available supplements. Consuming grapefruit might interfere with certain medications for heart disease, so patients should consult with their doctor before making any dietary changes. 

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