Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits have long been thought of as a delicious choice for breakfast or as a snack.  Aside from tasting great, citrus fruits can provide a multitude of health benefits as well.  There are many members of the citrus family including, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and pomelos.  This wide variety of fruits also have a wide range of health benefits as well, and we have provided a list below of just some of the amazing health benefits of these citrus fruits.

A popular idea today is the trend of juicing, when you only consume the juice of various fruits and vegetables.  While it may seem like a good idea, it can backfire on you.  By only consuming the juices, you lose out on the beneficial fiber and protein that some of the fruits provide.  Not getting enough protein can cause you to lose muscle mass.

1. Contain an abundance of important vitamins and nutrients

Citrus fruits are often lauded for their plentifulness of vitamin C, however citrus fruits also have more important vitamins and nutrients that your body needs.  Citrus fruits contain carbohydrates, which in small doses can give you energy and fiber.  One of the most prominent nutrients found in citrus fruits is potassium.  Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps to keep our body strong.  Potassium helps maintain water and acid balance in the body. Potassium can relax the nerve impulses in muscles and regulate blood pressure.  Citrus has a high quantity of potassium and it is a great way to keep bodies nourished with potassium.

2. Helpful in keeping your heart healthy

Citrus has been shown to keep your heart healthy.  Citrus fruits, specifically oranges have been shown to reduce the risk of heart diseases, heart arrhythmias.  Studies have shown that consuming grapefruits and grapefruit juice can have a positive effect on blood lipid levels.  Blood lipids are directly related to your cholesterol levels.  Cholesterol is a primary fat, or lipid that is in the body.  Too many lipids in the blood is what creates high cholesterol.  Citrus contain flavonoids, which are compounds that help lower LDL cholesterol levels.  Lower cholesterol levels can also be connected to heart issues such as heart disease and stroke.

3. Combats weight gain

While citrus fruits can not make you lose weight on their own, they can certainly prevent you from gaining weight.  Citrus fruits are rich in both fiber and water. Foods that have high fiber content fill your stomach and take time to digest, which gives you a longer period of feeling full and can help you not overeat.  

4. Reduce stress and anxiety

Stress is a common occurrence in life, and citrus fruits are a great choice to help combat some of the stress that you may be feeling.  Citrus fruits have natural sugars that relieve stress from the body.  Linalool, a compound in lemons that alter blood chemistry and gene compound to reduce stress levels.

5. Improves Cognitive Function

Research has shown that citrus fruits have the power to improve cognitive function. Folate and folic acid in oranges bolster brain development and help keep the most important organ in pristine condition.  A University of Washington study has shown that consuming fruit and/or vegetable juices 3 or more times per week significantly reduced an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  

6. Promotes bone health

Citrus fruits have a high concentration of calcium, which can help keep your bones healthy and thereby reduce the risk of osteoporosis.  Oranges are a great source of potassium that can help fight osteoporosis by helping to neutralize acidity that could lead to loss of bone.  Magnesium also plays a big role in bone health, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can give you more magnesium and reduce the risk of bone diseases.

7. Help to reduce the risk of cancer

Citrus has also been found to be able to reduce some of the risks for cancer.  Pulp and juice in grapefruit juices can hinder cancer development.  The flavonoids betacryptoxanthin and hesperidin found in mandarin oranges have protected the body from tumor growth in lung, colon, and tongue tissues.  Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) allows tumors to create their own blood cells by a process known as angionesis, and through this process the tumors carrying cancer cells effectively die, and the cancer risk is managed.

There are a number of ways for you to incorporate more fruit into your diet. Another popular method of getting more citrus into your diet would be through fruit smoothies.  There are a number of different combinations of citrus fruit smoothies that are both delicious and beneficial.

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