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Research review concludes “neurological benefit” from citrus fruits and their juices
A new review, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, has found that citrus fruits and their juices can have a positive impact on brain health, particularly during ageing. Scientists believe the secret lies in the citrus polyphenols – called flavonoids – which occur naturally in oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit.
Scientists based at the University of East Anglia in Norwich collated hundreds of studies which looked at the impact of citrus flavonoids on brain cells and nerves, as well as 10 studies in human populations.
The results showed that citrus polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties – both important for protecting brain tissues from damage, for example due to ageing or underlying health conditions. Damage to brain and nerve cells is one of the earliest signs of degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline.
Author, Dr David Vauzour, a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwich Medical School commented: “The human studies carried out so far suggest that eating citrus fruits improves cognitive performance and reduces the risk of degenerative brain diseases. We see similar effects for whole fruits and 100% juices, and effectiveness in both healthy people and those with existing neurological conditions.
“In addition, studies on animals have shown that supplementing the diet with citrus fruits improves deficits in learning and memory, particularly spatial memory – which helps us to remember where we’ve put things – and recognition memory – which is vital for facial and name recall”.
Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Fruit Juice Science Centre, added: “Citrus fruits and their juices are a rich source of vitamin C and contain flavonoids such as hesperidin. These are well-known to have positive effects on the vascular system and blood pressure, so it is interesting that the benefits extend to the brain. It provides another reason to enjoy a daily glass of orange juice”.
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53 min read
New study finds that fruit juice nutrients support natural immunity
A new research review, published in Frontiers in Immunology, has found that a simple glass of citrus juice – for example orange or grapefruit – contains key nutrients and bioactive substances that help our immune system to work efficiently.
Scientists examined evidence from nearly 200 different studies and reports, and concluded that vitamin C, folate and polyphenol compounds in citrus juices have the capacity to impact on immune health, fight inflammation and improve our defence against bacteria and viruses.
Co-author, Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology at Southampton University, said: “A weak immune system increases susceptibility to infections and allows these to become more severe. One component of the immune response is inflammation. Where inflammation is excessive or uncontrolled it can damage body tissues, sometimes irreparably, and affect our ability to fight infections. Having a diet rich in antioxidant foods and drinks is one way to control inflammation and ensure the body can mount an effective immune response. Trials in humans confirm that orange juice consumption reduces inflammation.
“Citrus fruit juices are particularly good sources of vitamin C and folate, which have roles in strengthening the gut and skin barriers which are our first line of defence against viruses and bacteria. In addition, these nutrients – which are absorbed well from fruit juices –support the function of many types of immune cells including phagocytes, natural killer cells, T-cells and B-cells.
“Another area of research is the bioactive polyphenols found in citrus fruit juices which include hesperidin, narirutin and naringin. These not only have anti-inflammatory effects but could also have direct anti-viral effects according to emerging data from modelling studies”.
Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Fruit Juice Science Centre, comments: “The evidence about the positive role that fruit juices play in the diet continues to build. We know from several large studies that a daily glass of pure fruit juice provides vitamin C, folate and potassium, can help to lower blood pressure, and reduces the risk of stroke. Now it’s clear that citrus juices can also contribute to immune health which is crucial as we all get back to our normal lives”.
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67 min read
New research shows why Europeans need to get immune fit
Given current concerns about immunity, people are increasingly seeking advice on which foods to choose for an optimal diet. A new report from the Fruit Juice Science Centre looks at the evidence for key nutrients in fruit juices – such as vitamin C and folate – and examines how these can contribute to normal immune function. The report explores insights from a recent survey in more than 3000 adults living in Europe (Germany, France, UK) to discover which foods they are choosing for immunity and how they view the role of 100% fruit juices.
60 min read
Hesperidin: does this bioactive compound explain the health effects of citrus fruits?
Hesperidin is a polyphenol found almost exclusively in citrus fruits and their juices, with a particularly high bioavailability from 100% orange juice. Both hesperidin and 100% orange juice are associated with improved markers of cardiovascular health, especially vascular function. It is likely that hesperidin acts in synergy with other compounds in citrus fruit juice, such as potassium, vitamin C and narirutin. Low compliance with fruit and fruit juice guidelines across Europe means there is scope for a daily glass of 100% orange juice to contribute to optimal intakes of hesperidin.
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17 min read