Researchers at the National Institute of Fruit Tree Science surveyed 1,073 people in the Japanese town of Mikkabi, in Shizuoka, where mandarin orange consumption is high. Chemical markers found in the blood of the Mikkabi residents were linked to a lower risk of liver disease, hardened arteries and insulin resistance.
A separate study conducted by scientists at Kyoto Prefuctural University of Medicine studied 75 patients with viral hepatitis and found that the group of 30 that drank mandarin orange juice for a year had no liver cancer. The disease was found in 8.9 percent of the 45 not drinking the juice.
"Mandarin oranges contain potent medicine," said Mike Adams, a holistic nutritionist and author of The Seven Laws of Nutrition. "Liver cancer is only one of many diseases that mandarin oranges help prevent and even reverse," he said. "Nature has provided us with the best medicines in the world, but as consumers, we have to be wise enough to recognize these gifts and take action to benefit from them. That means eating and drinking multiple servings of fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds on a daily basis."
The Kyoto researchers admitted more work was needed and announced their plan to continue the study for five years.
Cathy Ross, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, felt the studies underlined the influence on fruits and vegetables on health.
"This research appears to support the BHF recommendation of eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," she said. "Different colored fruit and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals, so the more types of fruit and vegetables you can include in your diet the better."