Peaches and plums have bioactive compounds that can fight off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, says a new study. The study showed that the compounds in such fruits could be a weapon against "metabolic syndrome", in which obesity and inflammation lead to serious health issues, according to Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, Texas AgriLife Research food scientist. "In recent years, obesity has become a major concern in society due to the health problems associated to it," said Cisneros-Zevallos, also associate professor at Texas A&M University.
"In the US, statistics show that around 30 percent of the population is overweight or obese, and these cases are increasing every year in alarming numbers," added Cisneros-Zevallos, according to a Texas statement. While he acknowledged that lifestyle, genetic predisposition and diet play a major role in one's tendency toward obesity, "the major concern about obesity is the associated disease known as metabolic syndrome." "Our studies have shown that stone fruits - peaches, plums and nectarines - have bioactive compounds that can potentially fight the syndrome," Cisneros-Zevallos said. "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." What is unique to these fruits, he said, is that their mixture of the bioactive compounds work simultaneously within the different components of the disease. "Our work shows that the four major phenolic groups - anthocyanins, clorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins - work on different cells - fat cells, macrophages and vascular endothelial cells," he explained. "They modulate different expressions of genes and proteins depending on the type of compound." "However, at the same time, all of them are working simultaneously in different fronts against the components of the disease, including obesity, inflammation, diabetes and cardiovascular disease," he explained. These findings have been presented at the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia in August.