Citrus fruits have a high acidic content which is what gives them that unique tangy flavor that hits the spot every single time. Their water content is high too, making them a juicy and refreshing snack or even a whole meal if you like. Here are some of the common citrus fruits which most people have heard about. Maybe one of your favorites is on the list.
List of Citrus Fruits and Their Health Benefits
- Grape fruit
Citrus fruits are also cross-bred and there are constantly new hybrids being grown which are not available all over the world nor are they widely known. Nature does her own hybridization, leading to varieties that are indigenous. For example, there is a citrus fruit called a tangelo which is part orange and part grapefruit. Most tangelo varieties that you find today are a result of genetic manipulation in Florida and California, but you’ll find naturally-occurring varieties there as well. This is important to know because if you want to get the best health benefits of citrus fruits, you should choose organic. Since the long-term repercussions of genetically-modified foods are not yet known you’ll be doing yourself a favor by learning more about where the citrus fruits in your supermarket come from before your bring them home.
Great Stuff in Citrus Fruits
All citrus fruits are known to be high in vitamin C, but that’s not the only bit of nutritional punch they pack. They are also high in fiber, contain over 5 dozen flavonoids, hundreds of phytonutrients , limonoids, antioxidants, polyphenlos, herperidin, anthocyanins, vitamin A, lutein, potassium, calcium, folate and thiamin. You may not recognize most of these nutrients, but anyone trained in medicine can tell you that they are responsible for keeping you fit and fighting off a number of ailments.
Good for Digestion
The high fiber content of most citrus fruits cleans out the digestive system, thus leading to regular bowel movements.
Helps to Lose Weight
Citrus fruits may be able to raise your metabolism if consumed regularly. They are low in calories and contain a dietary fiber called pectin which is known to help keep your colon clean thus aiding in regular elimination of toxins from the body. The same action of pectin also cleanses and detoxifies organs thus leading to better health overall.
Increases Iron Absorption
You may already know that iron needs vitamin C to be used properly by the body. If you take iron on its own, most of it will just pass out of your body unused. That’s why pregnant women are given vitamin C tablets along with their iron pills as part of their prenatal medication. Thankfully, you don’t need to resort to medication. Just incorporate more citrus fruits in your diet. They are bursting with vitamin C, so in addition to getting the benefits of vitamin C you’ll also be getting the benefits of any iron that you might be taking in.
The last half century has seen cancer become the focus of medicine. The big catch-word in the fight against cancer has been ‘antioxidants’. So now, everything that has antioxidants is studied by cancer researchers hoping to find a cure for the life-altering and often fatal disease. Citrus fruits have been found to be exemplary soldiers in the battle against cancer. The pectin in them attaches itself to cancer cells and eliminates them from the body. Citrus fruits are also great at destroying the free radicals which seem to be everywhere and in everything in our toxic world.
Keeps Heart Disease at Bay
Citrus fruits lower your risk of heart problems in several ways by lowering your risk factors of the disease. Citrus fruits lower cholesterol, improve your immunity, regulate blood pressure and weed out free radicals from your system. This is a pretty impressive resume for this food group, and one that it fulfils to excellence.
It’s those awesome antioxidants again! They make citrus fruits as healthy for the eyes as carrots. In fact, in the fight to keep cataracts at bay, you’d be better off eating an orange than munching on a carrot.
Maybe it’s because you are healthier when you eat citrus fruits, but several scientific reports and personal experiences prove that they have a massive impact on energy. Those who eat citrus fruits feel lighter and more energetic than they did before they incorporated citrus fruits into their diet. This even has an effect on their mood, making them feel calmer but more joyful. So the next time you’re feeling that awful afternoon slump, dig into a grapefruit instead of heading sluggishly toward the coffee machine.
Slow Down Aging
For most people, it’s the regenerative properties of citrus fruits that make them tuck into the tasty foods with gusto. The high antioxidant content in citrus fruits coupled with vitamin C make them a formidable ally in the battle against aging. You’ll find a glow to your skin and a bounce in your hair. Wrinkles will set in later than the norm too. Even if you are young anyway and not concerned about aging yet, you’ll notice that your skin just feels more supple and healthier when you eat citrus fruits. This happens because citrus fruits make your body produce more collagen – the stuff that gives your skin its elasticity – which also contributes to the health of your muscles and ligaments.
When to Eat Citrus Fruits to Avoid Adverse Reactions
Allergies to fruit are not uncommon, but for the most part fruit is pretty good for you. There are people who have trouble digesting fruit, but this is more about basic body chemistry than an allergy.
Having citrus fruits – or any fruits for that matter – on an empty stomach helps you to gain the best benefits. The sugar from them goes directly into your bloodstream, thus alleviating sweet cravings and regulating your blood sugar levels. Since the fruits will be the only content in your stomach, they have the opportunity to clean out your digestive system thanks their high fiber content and to react perfectly with the stomach acids. If eaten on an empty stomach, citrus fruits can be digested in under one hour!
However, when you eat fruit post your meal, it has to wait in line while the rest of your meal gets digested. Since most of the food we eat has high levels of salt, artificial sugar, preservatives and other processed chemicals, the digestion process takes much longer, which leads to the fruit getting fermented and causing acidity or gas. So ensure that you eat your citrus fruits before your main meal for best results. Have a grapefruit or a bowl of varied citrus fruits for breakfast or make it your last meal of the day. There should ideally be two hours between your last meal and your consumption of citrus fruits.
You’re sure to start eating more citrus fruits now that you know of all their wonderful benefits. If you have had a generally unhealthy diet, start with smaller portions of citrus fruits and increase slowly so as not to shock your body. You can also juice the fruits to get a glass of yummy goodness to start your day. Remember to always use fresh fruit and drink the juice within a few hours of juicing to take advantage of everything that citrus fruits have to offer.