Guest Author: Barry White
Citrus fruits are a common staple amongst people’s diets, with good reason. They are sweeter in flavour, and can brighten up even the bleakest of winter days. They are not only extremely flavoursome; they are also extremely healthy. Fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges have many health benefits, such as boosting immunity, and have even been shown to help fight cancer. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider adding more citrus fruits to your diet.
Rich in vitamins and plant compounds
Citrus fruits are known to be an excellent source of vitamin C, which the body does not naturally produce. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, and also benefits your skin. Just one medium sized orange contains the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, so there is no excuse for not getting enough! Citrus fruits also contain many other vitamins that are vital to maintain your bodily functions, such as B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and copper, which help with muscle contractions and help to maintain fluid balance within our body. Also, citrus fruits are a great source of plant compounds, that also have various health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory aspects.
Citrus protects your heart
It has been shown that citrus fruits can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those that didn’t eat any. It was also found that high citrus consumption was associated with reduced risk of having a stroke. In addition, consumption of citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits have been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The impacts that citrus fruits can have on your heart are largely due to the amount of vitamin C present within them, as well as the flavonol content and antioxidant activity.
Citrus heals the skin from the inside out
As mentioned previously, citrus fruits contain antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to be very powerful when it comes to fighting skin cancer, so eating foods from the citrus food group can help to essentially heal your skin from the inside out. The increased uptake of vitamin C can offer many protective health benefits, so it is important to ensure you have a sufficient amount within your day to day diet.
Citrus may reduce your risk of kidney stones
It has been found that drinking orange juice may help percent recurrent kidney stones. Kidney stones develop when chemicals within our urine become too concentrated and start to crystallise. Over time, these crystals bind to form a kind of stone. The majority of citrus fruits, more notably, oranges, contain citrate. This helps prevent the formation of kidney stones by allowing for more citrate within the urine, which decreases the acidity.
Citrus may help you live longer
Citrus fruits are known to contain a large amount of vitamin C, which, as we know, are good for your general health. This means that citrus fruits are great for strengthening the immune system, and therefore fighting off diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and dementia, as well as the aforementioned reduced risk of strokes. According to many experts, the best fruits to consume are mandarins, oranges and satsumas, as they contain over 170 phytochemicals with anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions. They are also beneficial to the health of our lungs. Citrus fruits contain hesperidin, which may lower cholesterol levels, and are a good source of beta-cryptoxanthin. All of these factors mean that eating citrus fruits can increase your life expectancy.
Citrus may protect your brain
As we have already briefly discussed, eating citrus fruits can help battle against dementia. In a recent study it was found that elderly people who eat plenty of citrus fruits were 23% less likely to develop dementia, after a six-year follow up. Within this study, mandarin oranges were the most commonly eaten fruit. This specific fruit contains a large number of flavonoids, and it is postulated that these may protect the neurons on your brain using their anti-inflammatory properties.
Citrus won’t spike your blood sugar
It was found by the American Diabetes Association that citrus fruits, more specifically lemons, are considered a top 10 superfood when it comes to combatting diabetes and high blood sugars. This is again due to the large amount of vitamin C that’s prevalent within these fruits. Also, the fibre and acidity allows for slower digestion, which causes a steadier rise in blood sugar levels. When discussing the glycaemic index, lemon juice is again considered a superfood, as it slows down the rate at which our stomachs empties the food, therefore enabling our bodies to take longer breaking apart the sugar molecules. One or two tablespoons of lemon juice has the potential to reduce the effect that a meal has on your blood sugar by up to 30%.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why you should be adding citrus fruits to your diets on a regular basis. The abundance of vitamins and fibre that is found within them are hugely beneficial to our health and well being, and should be exploited at every opportunity.