A glass of orange juice to counteract the effects of overweight and obesity, even in the presence of visceral fat, the famous pot belly. This is what emerges from a scientific research published a few years ago in the journal Food and Nutrition Research by a Brazilian team (Grace et al, FNR, 2015).
The risk of fat and the benefits of nutrition
A sedentary lifestyle, meals rich in carbohydrates and fats and high-calorie foods, these are the main causes of the constant increase in conditions such as overweight and obesity. The problem is that the fat, especially if located in the abdomen, is not inert. In fact, visceral fat can trigger, in the long run, a cascade of events that lead to a constant activation of the immune system, which in turn triggers a low, but chronic, level of inflammation. In the long run, this weakens our own defenses, but it can also lead to other types of consequences, such as a decrease in insulin resistance and an increase in cholesterol. This opens the way to an increased cardiovascular risk, to weakened defenses and to diabetes, cellular degeneration and oxidative stress. However, in addition to lifestyle changes, some nutrients contained in fruit and vegetables can also counteract this condition.
Orange juice, properties
An orange juice is a synergy of substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, such as hesperidin, which is characterized by an immunomodulatory and antitumor action, but also naringin, vitamin C, folate and potassium. Unfortunately, to date, very few studies have been dedicated to investigating the effect of a freshly squeezed orange juice on the health of overweight people.
Overweight and orange juice, the experiment
To shed light on this aspect, the researchers recruited 25 people of normal weight and 25 people who are overweight, namely with a body mass index greater than 25, all aged between 23 and 59 years. Each group was asked to consume 750 ml, equivalent to three cups, of orange juice with no added sugar every day for two months. Study participants could then follow their usual diet without restrictions. At the beginning and at the end of the experiment, the volunteers underwent visits and examinations in order to evaluate differences in body weight, fat mass, waist size, but also in the values of glycaemia, insulin, cholesterol and indicators of inflammation such C reactive protein and cytokines.
Orange juice reduces the effects of being overweight
At the end of the research it was found that orange juice did not lead to changes in body composition in either group, so body weight, fat mass and waistline were not changed. However, this juice has brought significant benefits in terms of total cholesterol and bad or LDL cholesterol, which have dropped. Not only that, orange juice has been able to counteract the weakening of the immune system. In fact, following the ingestion of orange juice, interleukin 12 is increased. This cytokine plays an essential role in regulating the immune response as it stimulates the formation of T cells, which are important in the fight, for example, against viral infections. Orange juice was also able to perform an anti-inflammatory action, since the values of the C reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation, decreased. Finally, orange juice, thanks to its valuable antioxidant content, counteracted oxidative stress and the action of free radicals.