I am one of those people who had a fear of citrus fruits until when I discovered their health benefits.Citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Citrus fruits are not only loaded with vitamin C, they also strengthen your immune system. I did some research and this is what I found.
Oranges have phytonutrients such as citrus flavanones, polyphenols, anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids which are beneficial to the health of the human body. The vitamin C content found in oranges provides antioxidant protection against cancer-causing free radicals and helps to boost immune system function. A single orange contains more than 60 flavanois and 170 different phytonutrients which possess blood clot inhibiting abilities, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor qualities Vitamin C can also reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. The vitamin C in oranges can also reduce the risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.
Grapefruits are rich in lycopene, a powerful carotenoid phytonutrient that has anti-tumor qualities. Lycopene has the highest capacity of any phytonutrient, to help the body fight off the damages from cancer-causing free radicals and can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in males.
Grapefruit juice was found to be one of the juices to contain the highest phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity. Antioxidants neutralize the unpaired electrons found in free radicals which render the molecule harmless. The antioxidants found in grapefruits stop the chain reaction of free radical development and benefit the body by boosting the immune system.
The pectin found in grapefruits can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis and reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.
Lemons are a citrus fruit used for culinary and non-culinary purposes all over the world. The fruit is mainly used for juice content, though the zest (rind) and pulp are also used in various recipes for cooking and baking. Lemons are an excellent source of citric acid and contain many flavonoids, antioxidants and cancer-preventing compounds. The flavonoids found in lemons stop cancer cell division and have antibiotic properties. Lemons are a natural diuretic and can help reduce swelling, inflammation and edema. The fruit is ideal for people suffering from urinary tract infections and high acid content in the urine and helps flush harmful bacteria out of the body.
The oil of lemons can also be very beneficial for astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal and calming properties. Lemon oil can be used to treat stress, infections, asthma, insomnia, skin and hair inflammation, stomach problems and infections. The oil in lemons is also high in vitamins and can help increase the function of the immune system in response to the flu virus and common cold.
Other ways to use lemon juice include as a facial astringent, scalp treatment for dandruff, as a gargle for throat inflammation and as a dental rinse to remove excess plaque on the teeth and whitens tooth enamel.
The dietary fiber content of limes is good for the prevention of chronic constipation. Dietary fiber lowers the risk of digestive complications. A diet high in fiber can lower the risk of a person developing hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Fiber in limes can also lower total blood cholesterol levels by reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol content in the blood. Fiber can also help slow the body’s absorption of sugar which can help improve blood sugar levels in people suffering from type II diabetes.
Next time you go to the market make sure to include one or two of the citrus fruits for your own benefits.