Sweet citrus fruits of bright colors bring an explosion of sun on winter days. But citrus fruits are not only tasty and beautiful – they are also excellent for health. This class of fruits includes lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits, as well as many more hybrids and varieties. They have a lot of health benefits, from increasing immunity to fighting cancer. Continue in this article to find out 7 reasons why you should eat citrus.
What are Citrus Fruits?
Citrus fruits grow on flowering trees and shrubs. They are characterized by a leathery cortex and a white cord that contains juicy segments. They are native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and possibly Southeast Asia. Today, they are grown in tropical and subtropical climates throughout the world. The main harvest centers are Spain, Brazil, China, the United States, Mexico and India. Interestingly, almost a third of all citrus fruits are used to make juice. You can find all kinds of citrus fruits during all seasons of the year. The high season of oranges and grapefruits in the Northern Hemisphere is between mid-December and April.
Here are some popular varieties of citrus fruits:
- Sweet oranges : Valencia, navel, orange blood, face
- Tangerines: Satsuma, Clementine, Tangor, Tangelo
- Files: Persian, lime, kaffir
- Grapefruits: White, ruby red, white gold
- Lemons: Eureka, Meyer
- Other types: Citron, sudachi, yuzu, grapefruit
Read on to know the 7 reasons to add these fruits to your diet.
1. They are Rich in Vitamins and Plant Compounds:
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and keeps skin smooth and elastic. In fact, only half an orange has all the vitamin C that the body needs in a day. Citrus fruits also have good amounts of other vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function properly, including B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper. In addition, they are rich in plant compounds that have various health benefits, including anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These compounds include more than 60 varieties of flavonoids, carotenoids and essential oils, and are responsible for many of those that contribute citrus fruits to health.
Summary: Citrus fruits are very nutritious, they offer a series of vitamins; minerals and plant compounds that help keep you healthy.
2. They are a Good Source of Fiber:
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of fiber. Only one cup of orange pieces contains four grams of fiber. To put this in perspective, it is recommended that you consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat. It is estimated that only 4% of men and 13% of women in the US They ingest that amount.
“Fiber has several health benefits, including improving digestive health and helping with weight loss”.
Oranges are particularly high in soluble fiber, the type of fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels. Compared to other fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits are the only ones with a higher proportion of soluble fiber than insoluble.
Summary: Citrus fruits are a good source of soluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol and aids digestion.
3. Citrus Fruits are Low in Calories:
If you are controlling calorie intake, citrus fruits are a good option. They are low in calories; however, their water and fiber content help to feel Full.
Here is the amount of calories contained in the main types of citrus:
- 1 small clementine: 35
- 1/2 orange: 62
- 1/2 pink grapefruit: 52
- 1/2 white grapefruit: 39
- 1 lemon juice: 12
Moreover, a 2015 study that analyzed people’s eating habits and weight for 24 years found that eating citrus was related to weight loss.
Summary: Citrus fruits are low in calories, making it a smart choice for people looking to lose or maintain their weight.
4. May Reduce the Risk of Kidney Stones:
Kidney stones are painful mineral crystals. They can be formed when the urine is very concentrated or when you have stone-forming minerals in the urine in higher amounts than normal. One type of kidney stone is caused by low levels of citrate in the urine. Many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, can raise citrate levels in the urine, decreasing the risk of kidney stones. Drinking citrus juices and eating these fruits can offer a natural alternative to potassium citrate supplements. According to data on American eating habits in the past 40 years, kidney stones are more common in people who eat less citrus.
Summary: Eating citrus fruits can help reduce the risk of kidney stones in some people by increasing urine citrate levels.
5. They Can Help Fight or Protect Against Cancer:
Many studies have linked citrus fruits with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer. In one study, it was observed that people who ate a grapefruit or drank a portion of grapefruit juice daily had a lower risk of lung cancer. Other studies have suggested that citrus fruits may also protect against cancers of the esophagus, stomach, breasts and pancreas. These fruits contain a large amount of plant compounds, including flavonoids, which can help protect against cancer. Some of these flavonoids act as antioxidants and can block the expression of certain genes that are responsible for some degenerative diseases, including cancer. Citrus fruits can also help fight cancer by suppressing it , blocking the formation of new tumors and inactivating carcinogens.
Summary: Citrus fruits have been widely studied for their protective effects on a variety of cancers.
6. Contains Nutrients That Boost Heart Health:
Eating citrus fruits could be good for the heart. In fact, a Japanese study found that people who ate higher amounts of these fruits had. Lower rates of heart disease and stroke. In addition, a 2017 review suggests that grapefruits are linked to a decrease in systolic blood pressure. Several compounds in citrus fruits can improve the markers of heart health. For example, its soluble fiber and flavonoids can improve cholesterol levels by raising “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. And many of the flavonoids in citrus fruits, including one called naringin, are strong antioxidants that benefit the heart in several ways.
Summary: Many citrus compounds can benefit heart health by improving cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
7. Can Protect the Brain:
The flavonoids in citrus fruits can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, that result from the breakdown of nervous system cells. In part, these diseases are caused by inflammation. The flavonoids found in citrus fruits have an anti-inflammatory capacity that is believed to help protect against the chain of events that causes nervous system deterioration. It has been shown that specific types of flavonoids, including hesperidin and apigenin, protect brain cells and improve brain function in mice and in studies with test tubes. Several studies in older adults have also shown that citrus juices can increase brain function.
Summary: Citrus fruits and juices can help stimulate brain function and protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders.
The Disadvantages of Citrus Fruits:
Although the general picture of citrus fruits is very encouraging, there are some potential disadvantages:
High Amounts Could Cause Tooth Decay:
Eating lots of citrus fruits or juices could increase the risk of tooth decay. This is because citric acid erodes tooth enamel. This is a particular risk if you drink lemon water all day, keeping your teeth wet in acid. Interestingly, certain compounds in citrus peels can fight the bacteria that cause dental cavities, although more research is needed to see how that information could be used.
Fruit juice is Not as Healthy as Whole Fruit:
Orange and grapefruit juices contain a lot of vitamin C and other nutrients that are often found in citrus fruits, which are not as healthy. That is because a serving of juice contains much more sugar and less fiber than a serving of whole fruit. There are a couple of reasons why that is a problem. First, more sugar per serving means more calories. Drinking fruit juice and other high-calorie drinks can cause weight gain. Second, when large amounts of fructose are ingested (the type of sugar found in fruit juice), it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and deposited in the liver. If the liver gets more fructose than it can handle, it converts part of the fructose into additional fat. Over time, those fat deposits can cause fatty liver. Consuming the fructose from the whole fruit is not a problem, since a smaller amount is being ingested at a time. In addition, the fiber found in the fruit buffers the fructose, causing it to be absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream.
Grapefruit May Interact with Certain Medications:
Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can be a problem if certain medications are taken. There is an enzyme in the intestine that reduces the absorption of certain medications. Furanocoumarin, a chemical substance in grapefruit, binds to this enzyme and prevents it from functioning properly. As a result, the body absorbs more medications than it should. Furanocoumarin is also found in tangelos and oranges in Seville (the type used for jam). There are several prescription and over-the-counter medications that react with grapefruit, including:
- Some statins, for high cholesterol, including Lipitor and Zocor.
- Some calcium channel blockers, for high blood pressure, including Plendil and Procardia.
- Ciclosporin, an immunosuppressive drug.
- Some Benzodiazepines, including Valium, Halcion and Versed.
- Other medications, including Allegra, Zoloft and Buspar.
Summary: Although citrus fruits are generally healthy, they can cause some inconvenience. Its acid can erode tooth enamel and grapefruit can interact with some medications.
There are many reasons to eat citrus. They are nutritious and contain plant compounds that can protect against a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction and kidney stones. But the ideal is to consume whole fruits, instead of a large amount of fruit juice, since its high sugar content can cause problems. In general, citrus fruits are healthy, low in calories and practices to consume. Most people could get great benefits from adding more citrus to their diet.