The citrus fruit family is vast, covering oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, etc. All of them, however, have two major things in common. First, citrus fruits are known to be quite delicious and offer a naturally sweet snack. Secondly, they are also immensely nutritious. Take your garden variety large orange, for instance. On average, It naturally packs more than the required amount of daily Vitamin C for an adult woman. Additionally, it has been found that organic oranges have more Vitamin C than conventional oranges. Speaking of Vitamin C, did you know that it influences the amount of absorption of iron in the body? The more Vitamin C there is, the more absorption of iron in the body from the food.
Of course citrus alone will not cure any condition or disease, but it does have potential health benefits. Here are some wonderful benefits of eating citrus fruit:
For such a minor ailment, a common cold can be irritating and unbearable at the same time. A lot of medication exists to counter a cold, but in case you didn’t know, eating more citrus, preferably in amounts that provide 400 mg to 500 mg of vitamin C, can help lessen the effects that come with contracting a cold. It isn’t exactly curing, but it sure does help unclog the nasal cavities and make it all bearable, and in just a short time, you will be smelling the roses again. The flavonoids and anti-oxidants in citrus fruits also help the immune system.
Citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, offer a great source of flavonoids. However, they contain this flavonoid in its pre-dominant form, commonly referred to as hesperidin. The hesperidia in citrus fruits is credited with heart helping properties. Ideally, it helps boost the HDL cholesterol, which is good for the body, while helping to lower LDL cholesterol, which is bad for the body.
Aids in Weight Loss
Eating more citrus is additionally helpful in aiding weight loss. Citrus is naturally filled with fiber and water that can help you stay full and satisfied for a good length of time. Citrus can also be a great low cal snack. Half of a grapefruit is approx. 50 calories. According to a 2006 study, grapefruit was noticed to have an additional benefit.
According to a 2006 study published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food,” eating half a grapefruit before a meal three times a day is associated with significant weight loss. Groups of obese individuals were assigned to eat half a grapefruit, drink 8 ounces of grapefruit juice, take a grapefruit capsule or take a placebo capsule. The fresh grapefruit, grapefruit juice and grapefruit capsule groups reported greater weight loss after 12 weeks than the placebo group, suggesting that certain components of grapefruit facilitate weight loss and fat loss. – SF Gate
Foods and dishes rich in sodium aren’t good in large quantities. Instead of going for salt and salty foods, why not opt for a bit more of citrus in the diet. After all, it is well established that citrus is also good in enhancing flavors, the same way salt does. Drizzle some lemon juice over your fish, chicken, salad, etc for acid/salt flavor.
Apart from flavonoids, citrus is also known be a source of antioxidants. More specifically, a special class of antioxidants called limonoids has a particular impact on the body. Limonoids have been found to help protect the body against the various types of cancers, namely, cancer of the colon, skin, lung, stomach, and finally, breast cancer.
In addition to these, there are other benefits to take note of. Regular drinking of orange juice lowers the risk of contracting kidney complications like kidney stones.
Studies have shown that potassium citrate supplements can slow the formation of kidney stones, but some people can’t tolerate the supplements because of gastrointestinal side effects. For those people, drinking citrus juices, which contain a natural form of citrate, may offer an alternative to the supplements. – WebMD
Also, if your eye health is somewhat questionable, you should start your hunt for citrus in oranges. It has been discovered that oranges contain a chemical called carotenoid, which is transformed into vitamin A in the body, conveniently, helping to prevent macular degeneration.
As it has already been discussed, citrus fruits contain quantities of fibers in them. Dietary fiber in general can help to prevent constipation via stimulation of digestive juices. Furthermore, flavonoid (hesperidin) is a good regulator when it comes to high blood pressure. Besides the flavonoid, there are quantities of magnesium in citrus fruits that greatly maintain normal blood pressure in the body.
Conclusively, citrus fruits are of immense importance to the body due to the many nutrients they naturally harness. If you live in a tropical region, feel free to grow your own citrus fruit trees and enjoy citrus all year long at your convenience. If you live in a colder climate and you can afford to, do your best to purchase organic citrus fruit or buy fruit grown by regional farmers so you can help support independent farmers (rather than large, multi-million dollar corporations). Enjoy fresh citrus fruit every day and try all sorts of new recipes, from smoothies, to salads to meat marinades.