Oranges and grapefruits can help keep your arteries healthy and protect against heart attacks, say researchers.
The citrus fruits contain chemicals which reduced blood cholesterol levels by 20-25 per cent in studies on rats.
The findings could help explain why those who live in the Mediterranean tend to live longer and have lower levels of heart disease than those in northern Europe.
The researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem reported to Chemical & Industry magazine that the compounds, known as flavanones, not only reduced levels of bad LDL cholesterol, but also increased the ratio of good HDL cholesterol.
It is suggested that those with high cholesterol could try eating a diet rich in citrus fruits as a first alternative drugs such as statins.
It is already known that grapefruit consumption can have an effect on cholesterol levels by changing the way the liver functions - so much so that doctors warn patients who are prescribed statins not to eat grapefruit because it can increase the effect of the drugs.