Have you ever thought about eating sunshine? If you eat citrus, then that’s probably a description that you’ve used to describe its bright, flavorful, refreshing addition to your diet. Citrus is a staple of any well-rounded diet for the host of health benefits that it provides. And we’re not just talking about oranges, the most well-known of the citrus fruits. There are lots of interesting citrus fruits that deliver amazing health benefits, including clementines, lemons, limes, kumquats, grapefruits, tangelos, tangerines, and pomelos.
Health Benefits Of Citrus
Vitamin C is the most well-known health benefit of all the citrus fruits. Vitamin C performs powerful antioxidant functions. Vitamin C can help prevent the cell damage done by “free radical” molecules as they oxidize protein, fatty acids, and DNA in the body. This damage has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataract formation. Citrus can protect you!
But citrus gives you more than just vitamin C. Citrus fruits are chock-full of fiber. Fiber helps you feel full for a longer time, which means you’re less likely to binge eat on things that aren’t good for you. Citrus contains no fat or sodium, and no cholesterol. The average calorie content of fresh citrus is also low, which can be very important for those who are concerned about putting on excess body weight. Citrus fruits have relatively low glycemic index scores on the 100-point scale, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar as much as some other foods.
Citrus fruits contain naturally occurring phytonutrient compounds that have a wide range of physiological effects to protect you against numerous chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The number of known phytochemicals continue to grow, as does understanding of their role and importance in the diet. Citrus provides multiple types of fancy-sounding phytochemicals, including monoterpenes, limonoids, flavanoids, carotenoids, and hydroxycinnamic acid.
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are rich sources of flavonoids. The predominant flavonoid in these fruits—hesperidin—is credited with boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Grapefruit seed extract can be used to fight infections and can rid the body of unhealthy bacteria.
Citrus fruits are packed with folic acid, a type of vitamin B that can aid in preventing kidney disease and birth defects among pregnant women.
When you hear “potassium,” you probably think of bananas. But citrus is also a great source of this mineral, which is important for fluid regulation, mineral balance, and muscle contraction.
Citrus may prevent wrinkles! Vitamin C plays a role in collagen production, which leads some experts to believe it can help keep skin looking supple and smooth.
What are some other health benefits of citrus? This graphic explains it:
Medication Interaction Warming:
Grapefruit juice, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits such as pomelos and Seville oranges, may interfere with the breakdown of various kinds of prescription drugs. Certain chemicals in grapefruits and other citrus fruits may inhibit enzymes that break down medications during digestion. When this occurs, dangerous levels of medication can build up in your body, increasing the risk of serious side effects.