You’ve probably heard that citrus fruits, like the bergamot orange grown in the Mediterranean, have anti-aging effects and also help with weight loss by boosting metabolism. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which is great for numerous reasons, but it’s the flavonoids that are currently getting the media buzz. One flavonoid in particular has caught the attention of many scientists for its anti-cancer effect but is found in abundance in a part of fruits most of us discard: the white flesh inside the peel.
Naringenin Repairs DNA
Naringenin occurs in tomato peels as well as citrus fruits in the tart, white flesh. Studies suggest that the phytonutrient repairs DNA damage, thereby reducing the risk of cancer.
This isn’t exactly news. One article on the benefits of citrus fruit peels was published in the journal Z Ernahrungswiss back in 1986 Interest has renewed across the globe, however. One study in India concludes that curcumin and naringenin together have an angioinhibitory and antitumor effect. Scientists in Hong Kong used naringenin to suppress polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) transformation into genotoxins, supporting other findings that naringenin fights cancer.
Helps Brain, Liver
In yet another Indian study—in India, where hikers sometimes fall ill with high altitude sickness—scientists treated hypoxia-induced animals with naringenin and quercetin. The two nutrients acted as neuroprotectants against behavioral impairment and neuronal damage—good news for those braving the heights of the Himalayas.
Still other cases indicate that it also stimulates the liver to burn excess fat, as in the case of obese mice, and effectively balances triglyceride and cholesterol levels and blood sugar.
The next time you pick up an orange, leave on as much of the white flesh as you can. Alternatively, grate lemon, lime, and orange peels in healthy recipes to get their anti-cancer effect.