London, June 17 : The next time you eat an orange, don't forget to chew its peel because it may enhance your sporting performance.
This proposition springs from a study of plant metabolites called polymethoxylated flavones, which are found in the peel of sweet oranges such as the Valencia and Hamlin varieties.
Funded by the US Army Natick Soldier System Center in Massachusetts, the study has shown that polymethoxylated flavones can decrease post-exercise recovery time.
The researchers conducted tests on horses, and measured the time it took for post-exercise oxygen consumption levels to return to normal.
It was observed that the horses who were not administered any treatment took about 110 seconds to recover, while those treated with the flavones were ready to go again after about 85 seconds, 23 per cent quicker.
The researchers reckon that the extract could be used to delay the onset of fatigue in sporting competitions in a way that does not require banned performance enhancing drugs, reports New Scientist journal.
The magazine also reports that some researchers are studying the orange peel for their ptential anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties.