islamabad - A class antioxidants found in oranges, limes, and lemons may help prevent the harmful effects of obesity in mice fed a Western high-fat diet, researchers find.

Citrus fruits contain several antioxidants that may prevent a range of health concerns. According to a recent article exploring the health benefits of popular foods, citrus fruits may lower ischemic stroke risk, maintain blood pressure, and support heart health.

There are several groups of flavonoids, including anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavones, flavanones and isoflavones. Flavanones, such as hesperidin, eriocitrin, and eriodictyol, are abundant in citrus fruits and have been associated with lowering oxidative stress in vitro and animal models.

“Our results indicate that in the future we can use citrus flavanones, a class of antioxidants, to prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity in humans,” says Paula S Ferreira, a graduate student with the research team.

Ferreira and colleagues aimed to observe the effects of citrus flavanones on mice with no genetic modifications that were fed a high-fat diet.

“Our studies did not show any weight loss due to the citrus flavanones,” says Thais B Cesar, PhD, who leads the team. “However, even without helping the mice lose weight, they made them healthier with lower oxidative stress, less liver damage, lower blood lipids and lower blood glucose.”

Paula S Ferreira said, “This study also suggests that consuming citrus fruits probably could have beneficial effects for people who are not obese, but have diets rich in fats, putting them at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal obesity.”

Family life can lower death risk in older age

According to a new study, only family-life could lower mortality risk in later stages of life. It is no secret that being around friends and family in older age can benefit health; loneliness among seniors has been linked to increased risk of depression, heart disease, and more. Lead author James Iveniuk, of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues found that older adults who have more family members and who are closer to their family have a lower risk of death, though the same link could not be made with friends.

“Regardless of the emotional content of a connection, simply having a social relationship with another person may have benefits for longevity,” says Iveniuk.

He adds that they were surprised by their findings, noting that one might assume friends are more important for mortality because we choose them based on our specific needs.

James Iveniuk said that “But that account isn’t supported by the data - it is the people who in some sense you cannot choose, and who also have little choice about choosing you, who seem to provide the greatest benefit to longevity.”

They found that being married, having a larger social group, greater participation in social organizations, and being emotionally closer to social contacts were equally important factors for mortality in older age.

The team was surprised to find that marriage was beneficial for mortality, even among subjects with poor marital quality. “We observed no association between measures of support from the spouse and mortality, indicating that the presence of a marital bond may be more important for longevity than certain aspects of the bond itself,” says Iveniuk.

Time spent with friends and family, feelings of loneliness, and access to social support were found to be less important factors for mortality, the team reports.

Overall, the researchers say their findings highlight the importance of good family relationships for a longer life.

“Going back to the very first sociological theorists, many different thinkers have noted that there is some kind of special significance that people attribute to family ties, leading people to stay close to and support people who wouldn’t necessarily be individuals that they would associate with if they had the choice,” says Iveniuk.