What You Should Know: Tasty and Healthy Citrus Fruits

Some of the favorite fruits of all are those that belong to the citrus genus like lemon, grapefruit, lime, orange, clementine, and tangerine. The citrus genus also covers rarer fruits like bergamot, kumquat, yuzu, pomelo, tangelo, and tangelo. According to Botanical Accuracy, these tasty fruits have been cultivated for humans to use.

Aside from being flavorful, citrus fruits and products made from them are quite popular in terms of being a source of Vitamin C which is necessary to keep the body’s immune system in good shape. But did you know that these fruits are known to contain other vitamins, minerals and fiber that is necessary to maintain a healthy body?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations revealed that like any other whole foods, citrus fruits are great sources of essential nutrients such as potassium, calcium, folate, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, riboflavin and pantothenic acid as well as glycaemic and non-glycaemic carbohydrate, or the sugars and fiber.

Because of this, citrus have numerous health benefits which include:

  • Weight gain prevention. Researchers from London’s Western University found that tangerines help prevent or lower the risk of obesity and offer protection against type 2 Diabetes because it contains a flavonoid known as nobiletin.
  • Lowers the occurrence of cancer. Japanese scientists were able to evaluate and prove that consumption of the common seedless variety of orange known as satsuma mandarin lowered the risk of certain cancers in their study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology back in 2012. According to their research, the hesperidin and beta­cryptoxanthin in the fruit hindered the growth of tumors in the tongue, lungs and colon.
  • Decrease risk of stroke. The journal “Stroke” by the American Heart Association published a study in 2012 that revealed that flavanone, which can be found in oranges and grapefruits, lowered the risk of stroke by evaluating more than 70,000 women for 14 years. Their study found that the risk factor of stroke that involved clotting of blood in the brain decreased by 19% in those who ate the most citrus fruits.
  • Improve eyesight. Aside from preventing scurvy and fighting free radicals, scientists from the Oregon Health & Science University discovered that the Vitamin C in citrus fruits help maintain proper function of nerve cells in the connecting the eyes to the brain. The team therefore concluded that in effect, eating citrus fruits can actually improve one’s eyesight. In fact, they also found out that peels from a single lemon contains 111% of the necessary Vitamin C needed by an individual while other citrus fruits like clementines, orange and grapefruit have 96, 93 and 51 percent, respectively.
  • Lowers synthetic drug intake. Not only does it lower the possibility of a person’s need for medication, it also lowers the dosage needed for certain drugs. According to a clinical trial conducted at the University of Chicago in 2012, drinking a glass of grapefruit juice everyday while taking your dose of the anti-cancer drug sirolimus can lower your dose since it triples the medicine’s effect and reduces side-effects.
  • Reduces stress. Lemons have numerous health benefits including reducing stress. According to a Japanese research, linalool, a compound that gives the citrus fruit its aromatic effect, is able to alter gene activity and blood chemistry to reduce stress. In a testing, lab mice showed lower stress levels in the animals that were exposed to linalool scent.
  • Lower risk of anemia. Since it contains Vitamin C, citrus fruits have been found to lower the risk of anemia because it aids in the body’s iron absorption. This is particularly useful especially for people who have escalated chances of having iron-deficiency anemia like vegetarians who have limited sources of iron.
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