The tiny tangerine is a powerful superfood, say researchers at the University of Western Ontario. Not only can a substance found in tangerines combat obesity, it also keeps arteries healthy, and protects against type 2 diabetes.
Scientists fed mice a high-fat, high-sugar diet similar to that of most western societies. One group of mice became obese, with elevated cholesterol and insulin levels, and a fatty liver—symptoms that increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
But mice given nobiletin, a substance found in tangerines, did not gain weight, get a fatty liver, or have elevated blood fats—despite consuming the same diet. These mice also had less fatty build-up in their arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
Nobiletin was 10 times more effective than a similar compound found in grapefruit.
Scientists believe that the substance could be of use to humans.
“The nobiletin-treated mice were basically protected from obesity,” says Dr. Murray Huff, who led the research. “This study really paves the way for future studies to see if this is a suitable treatment for metabolic syndrome and related conditions in people.”
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