Food / Healthy Eating / Nutrition

Tangerines: Arsenal Against Disease

It’s estimated that 25 percent of the population in the U.S. have a tendency toward Metabolic Syndrome, which can lead to diabetes, stroke and heart disease. A cause of Metabolic Syndrome is high blood sugar. Continued high blood sugar can damage the arteries. When the arteries are damaged, particles of cholesterol accumulate and cause blockage, which can cause heart attack.

Does that mean cholesterol is the cause of the heart attack? No. It means that arterial damage caused the heart attack. Our main concern should be in discovering what caused the arterial damage. One huge reason for arterial damage in the western hemisphere is sugar.

Sugar causes inflammation in the arterial walls. Sugar also attaches to LDL cholesterol, making it sticky and hard so that it stays where it attaches. There are at least two types of cholesterol – Type A, which is light and fluffy and healthy, and Type B, which is hard and sticky. Cholesterol, damaged by sugar is Type B.

People with Diabetes are also candidates for heart disease and stroke. Understanding the cause of disease is paramount to avoiding disease. Inflammation is at the core of most diseases. Sugar causes inflammation.

Researchers from the University of Western Ontario fed mice (divided into two groups) a western diet, high in bad fats and sugars. One group of mice became obese and exhibited signs of metabolic syndrome. Their cholesterol and triglycerides rose exponentially. They acquired high blood levels of insulin and glucose and a fatty liver.

Interestingly, the second group of mice were fed the same diet but the researchers added nobiletin, a substance found in tangerines. Nobiletin is a powerful flavanoid. The second group of mice in the Western Ontario study experience no rise in their levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin or glucose. They gained weight normally, unlike the first group of mice. More interesting to me, the second group of mice – those fed the nobiletin – became eminently more sensitive to the effects of insulin.

That is the opposite of Metabolic Syndrome.

If you are having problems with blood sugar levels, you might want to start eating more tangerines. And if you don’t have blood sugar problems, you might want to eat them to avoid the problems in the first place.

Nobiletin prevented the buildup of fat in the liver by stimulating the genes that burn fat and inhibiting genes that produce fat, according to the researchers. They considered the mice in group two protected from obesity because of the addition of nobiletin to their diets. Nobiletin is even ten times more potent than the flavonoid, naringenin (found in grapefruit), and has the added ability to prevent atherosclerosis.



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