A-peel-ing news for a healthy heart

According to research published in May it's not only the flesh but also the peel of grapefruit that might have health benefits, this time in terms of lowering cholesterol.

A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that plant compounds found in the peels of tangerines and oranges, lower LDL or 'bad' cholesterol in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol diet. Meanwhile, another compound called naringenin found in grapefruit peel also had a cholesterol lowering effect, although it was weaker.

All these plant compounds act as antioxidants and belong to a group of plant chemicals called flavonoids, typically found in tea and red wine.

The researchers suggest citrus peel may work by reducing the secretion of cholesterol from the liver. But before you go crazy with your zester, bear in mind you'd need to eat the zest of about 25 oranges or 75 grapefruits a day to see a benefit!

Juliette Kellow BSc SRD

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