Health benefits of citrus fruit
Citrus fruits are members of the Rutaceae family. You’re probably most familiar with citrus fruits like oranges, including tangerines, clementines, and satsumas (sometimes known as easy-peelers), grapefruits, lemons, and limes. Kumquats, Buddha’s hands (or fingered citrons), Meyer lemons, finger limes, minneolas, bergamot, pomelo, yuzu, and ugli fruit are just a few of the numerous lesser-known citrus fruits.
According to historical reports, citrus fruits were originally introduced to the Americas in 1493. For their stimulating scent, they were commonly added to tea. Sailors used citrus fruits to cure scurvy since their medicinal qualities were well known. Citrus fruits were also used to alleviate nausea and vomiting, especially in plague sufferers, and as an antidote to several poisons, including venom.
To reduce a disease’s consequences, citrus fruits may become less required. Yet, they are high in vitamin C and flavonoids, two chemical substances that have been shown to lessen the effects of the coronavirus and so reduce the risk of pneumonia. May I suggest substituting orange for the traditional apple to get some vitamin C in light of the recent pandemic’s devastating health impacts, which have been dubbed a modern-day plague?
Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy immune systems and fighting the damage caused by free radicals in the body as an antioxidant. This is important because free radicals produce inflammation, which, if untreated, can lead to major diseases including heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C aids iron absorption, which is essential for maintaining normal blood flow. Try adding some citrus fruit segments or pouring some fresh lemon or lime juice on top of your salad to maximize iron absorption. Half a grapefruit is acceptable as an appetizer, dessert, or ingredient in a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice with supper. Desserts consisting of citrus fruits are perfect for doing this before or after a meal.
Flavonoids, a class of plant nutrients with health benefits, are also present in citrus fruits. They enhance the fruit’s vivid color and enticing aroma. There are more than sixty flavonoids contained in citrus fruits, including hesperidin, hesperetin, quercetin, and tangeretin. By increasing glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity and lowering the risk of diabetes, these flavonoids benefit health. They aid in reducing inflammation and maintaining the health of the gut lining. Moreover, studies have shown that these compounds are so helpful to health that they may even inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Further research is being done to see whether these beneficial components may be made into supplements to prove citrus fruits’ worth as functional foods or nutraceuticals. There is another strong case in favor of ingesting citrus fruits on a regular basis.
Flavonoids found in tangerines, such as tangerine tangeretin and nobiletin, have been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney failure. Finally, citrus fruit flavonoids have been shown in laboratory studies to protect against brain and nerve cell degeneration, mostly as a result of their antioxidant qualities. To that end, researchers are still trying to figure out how much flavonoids are needed to provide this protective effect in humans. Consuming citrus fruits frequently is advised in the meantime.
Fibre is crucial for gut health since it not only aids digestion but also prevents constipation and diarrhea. Citrus fruits are high in dietary fiber, especially if you eat the white pith. Citrus fruits are a delicious way to get closer to the daily required fiber intake, which is crucial because many individuals do not consume enough of it. Citrus fruits are easier to digest because they contain more soluble fiber than other fruits and vegetables. In addition to their dietary fiber, citrus fruits and recipes cooked with them stimulate the appetite and improve digestion.
Citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons, have a lower sugar content than most other fruits. Oranges have roughly 12 grams of sugar per fruit, which is more than lemons and limes, which have about 1.5 grams of sugar per fruit. Grapefruits are not as sweet as oranges but are also not as acidic as lemons and limes, with just approximately 8.5g of sugar per fruit. Grapefruits of whatever color—yellow, pink, or red—have the same amount of sugar. But red grapefruits are the best option since they contain more vitamin A than other varieties. Citrus fruits are also a great option for a healthy, low-calorie snack.
Citrate, which is present in citrus juices like lemon and lime, is considered to prevent kidney stones. Grapefruit juice, on the other hand, has more citrate than either lemons or limes. Orange juice also includes citrate, which is a sweeter substitute for the acidic qualities of the other three fruits. If fresh water is added to the sour juice, the kidneys will be flushed and the liquid will be more bearable.
Eating citrus fruits
After peeling citrus oranges, most people just eat the pulp, often known as the flesh. This is because of how delicious it is, how well it holds together, and how much fun it is to eat. Citrus fruits’ skin, pulp, and leaves are all beneficial to your health. The rind of citrus fruits may have a high concentration of polyphenols. Flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, essential oils, fiber, and carotenoids are all examples of polyphenols. The pulp and peel are recommended since they contain more healthy components than the flesh.
Citrus fruit peel contains chemicals that have antibacterial, antiseptic, and blood vessel health benefits, such as the prevention of plaque buildup, increased circulation, decreased cholesterol, and a slowed rate of cell aging brought on by oxidative stress.
You may flavor water with citrus peels, infuse oil with citrus peel pieces, or brew fruit tea by pouring boiling water over the colorful skins of citrus fruits. You may also prepare a zesty butter and melt it over your vegetables, or you can add the grated zest to salads. Citrus peels may be frozen for up to three months and then used in stews, tagines, and curries.
Citrus fruits are rarely cooked since they taste so excellent and fresh. Nonetheless, they can be added to dishes that include fatty meats like hog and duck since their acid helps break down the fat and makes the meat simpler to digest. They go well with desserts like pudding and other sweets. Who doesn’t like a key lime pie or a lemon tart?
If you have trouble drinking the necessary quantity of water daily, add lemon juice or even just a slice of lemon to your water. You may use freshly squeezed orange juice in smoothies, but be aware that the sugar content of citrus fruits can raise blood sugar more quickly than eating whole fruit because there is considerably less fiber.
Too much consumption of citrus fruits can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities since they are so acidic. In addition, you shouldn’t drink grapefruit if you’re taking medication for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or organ transplantation since a component in grapefruit can interfere with these therapies.
As can be seen, eating citrus fruits has several health benefits, such as boosting hunger, bolstering the immune system, and delaying the aging process. Citrus fruits come in a broad variety, and every single one of them is delicious. Eating citrus fruits has several health advantages as well.
- All about the citrus family https://www.realfoods.co.uk/article/all-about-the-citrus-family
- A Chef’s List of Unusual Citrus Fruits https://www.firstchoiceproduce.com/blog/a-chefs-list-of-unusual-citrus-fruits/
- Pharmacological properties of citrus and their ancient and medieval uses in the Mediterranean region bit.ly/3IqXTlB
- Citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids for immunoregulation and potential targeting ACE2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8844329/
- Biochemistry, Iron Absorption https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448204/
- Chemopreventive Agents and Inhibitors of Cancer Hallmarks: May Citrus Offer New Perspectives? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133085/
- Citrus Flavonoids as Promising Phytochemicals Targeting Diabetes and Related Complications: A Systematic Review of In Vitro and In Vivo Studies https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/10/2907
- Nutraceutical https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/nutraceutical
- Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690266/