Lemons and other citrus fruits are high in a type of compound that are known as bioflavonoids. One of those bioflavonoids is called hesperidin, and it’s found in significant quantities in lemons and sweet oranges. Hesperidin has been the subject of numerous studies, and found to have many properties that are beneficial to human health, including protection against heart disease and type II diabetes.
In 2003, Japanese researchers studied the effect of hesperidin on ovariectomized mice, making them the animal equivalent of post-menopausal women. In particular, they were interested in the effects of the phytonutrient on bone loss and cholesterol levels, which are common complaints of post-menopausal women.
The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2003, was conducted with mice divided into five groups, including controls, and those who were fed estradiol as an estrogen replacement along with hesperidin.
Results of the test were very encouraging. Adding hesperidin to the diet had significant and beneficial effects.
- It lowered cholesterol levels in the blood and in the liver.
- Bone loss occurred in the control group of ovariectomized mice. However, adding hesperidin not only stopped, but actually prevented bone loss in all areas of the femur, the long thigh bone that was the focus of the study.
The researchers concluded that the next step should include studies on post-menopausal women to see if the effect is just as positive. The prospect of preventing high cholesterol and osteoporosis is very good news.
Hesperidin is present in both the fruit and even more in the peels of lemons and oranges. The health benefits of citrus fruits are unfolding more and more with research into the properties of the many nutrients they contain. It’s just another very good reason to add lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits to your healthy diet.