Peaches, Plums, Nectarines May Help Fight Obesity

By Chelsea Whyte on June 19, 2012 7:45 PM EDT

peach
Eating stone fruits could help fight against obesity. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Peaches, plums and nectarines are some of the best summertime treats, and now there's a new reason to indulge in these sweet fruits.

Stone fruits have bioactive compounds that can potentially fight off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study by Texas Agrilife Research.

Currently, 30 percent of the U.S. population is overweight or obese, which can lead to cardiac problems and diabetes, and while lifestyle and genetic predisposition play a large role in a person's tendency toward obesity, "the major concern about obesity is the associated disease known as metabolic syndrome," said food scientist and study author Luis Cisneros-Zevallos.

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"Our work indicates that phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL which is associated to cardiovascular disease," he said.

Four compounds in the fruit - anthocyanins, clorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins - work simultaneously on different cells. These include fat cells, macrophages, which digest cellular debris and germs, and vascular endothelial cells, which line the entire circulatory system to filter fluids and regulate hormones.

The researchers believe that this is the first time that specific compounds have been shown to work on different cells in the body to reduce risk of certain diseases.

"Each of these stone fruits contain similar phenolic groups but in differing proportions so all of them are a good source of health-promoting compounds and may complement each other," said Cisneros-Zevallos. "They modulate different expressions of genes and proteins depending on the type of compound."

But this study only points to a positive association and not causation, reports Medical Daily.

Cisneros-Zevallos and his team of researchers plan to study the effect each compound has on the molecular mechanisms and to confirm the results with mice studies, according to Red Orbit.

The project was collaboratively funded by the California Tree Fruit Agreement, The California Plum Board, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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