Citrus is a genus of flowering plants in the Rutaceae family. It is native to Southeast Asia and has been cultivated worldwide from ancient times. Citrus fruits are acidic fruits and they are well known for their health promoting compounds. Strong nutritional value of citrus fruits provides many outstanding health benefits. They are very well known for anti-cancer properties and heart promoting properties. Researchers have found evidence that citrus fruits are great to fight against deadly diseases such as cancer, obesity, and high cholesterol. Some of the most common citrus fruits are oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits.
Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits
The most famous and major advantage of citrus fruits is that they are extremely rich in Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and that is helpful in treating and preventing many diseases and conditions. All citrus fruits are detoxifying fruits, thus help to eliminate wastes from the body. But they should be avoided if someone is down with flu because body may overreact detoxifying and it can make health condition worse. Other very important vitamins and minerals in citrus fruits are- Vitamin D, Folic acid or Vitamin B9, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Potassium, Iron, Thiamin, Niacin and Vitamin E. Some of these fruits are also rich in Choline (in oranges) and Lycopene (in red grapefruits).
Citrus fruits are known for their antioxidants activities. They are great for the cardiovascular health as they reduce the chances of heart diseases and help to control high blood pressure.
Antioxidants in citrus fruits fight against free radicals and help to improve blood flow in the arteries, prevent blood clots and stop the process of oxidation of LDL or low-density lipoprotein. Oxidation of LDL can lead to atherosclerosis. The presence of important phytochemicals (with their strong antioxidants capabilities) in citrus fruits makes them extremely essential for inhibiting cancer and cardiovascular disease. Phytochemicals protect the heart and suppress the growth of cancer cells as well.
Important Phytochemicals in Citrus fruits:
- Hydroxycinnamic acids
Citrus fruits are helpful in promoting the immune system. Regular intake of Vitamin C is very good for keeping immune system healthy. Vitamin C in citrus fruits can be helpful to improve bone density. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and it helps in the progression of asthma. Folic acid in citrus fruit reduces the chance of spina bifida or anybirth defects. Regular consumption of citrus fruits during the first stage of pregnancy can be very helpful to prevent birth defects.
Vitamin C and iron are two very important nutrients to prevent anaemia. Vitamin C helps body to absorb iron. Consumption of Vitamin C rich citrus fruits can help prevent anaemia. One of the major health benefits of citrus fruits is that it reduces the risk of developing cataracts. Vitamin C is a major nutrient to prevent cataract formation. It prevents oxidation of the eye's lens, which is the major cause of age related cataracts. Regular intake of Vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits can be very beneficial in cataract protection.
Major Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits at a Glance:
- Reduce Cancer Risk
- Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Controls Blood Pressure
- Prevent Birth Defects
- Prevent Anaemia
- Reduce Asthma
- Reduce Cataracts
Orange is most popular and considered as the best citrus fruit. Apart from other vitamins and minerals, orange is rich in beta-carotene. It is a great fruit for overall health. Lemon and lime are also wonderful for health. Lemon is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and anti-bacterial properties. It is good for the digestive system and also good for the liver. Grapefruit is another fruit which is rich in beta-carotene. It is a good fruit for the diabetics and also promotes the skin health. Some other healthy citrus fruits are mandarin, tangerine, Clementine and Minneola.
According to WebMD – citrus fruits reduce the risk of colon cancer significantly. Grapefruit juice is very helpful for smokers to fight off cancer. Grapefruits are also helpful in lowering of insulin level and good metabolism. High levels of insulin are linked to weight gain. Patients who ate a half a grapefruit or drank grapefruit juice with every meal lost 3.6 and 3.3 pounds, respectively. Some patients lost more than 10 pounds.
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Health Benefits of Oranges
One of the most popular citrus fruits in the world, oranges are renowned for its concentration of vitamin C. Generally available all year round these round citrus fruits taste good and full of nutrition. Oranges are enriched with a bunch of healing properties and medicinal qualities which provide exceptional health benefits. The healing properties of oranges have been associated with a wide variety of phytonutrient compounds...
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