FoodRising star in health food: Why red citrus fruits are winning over wellness enthusiasts

Rising star in health food: Why red citrus fruits are winning over wellness enthusiasts

Why is it worth eating red citrus?
Why is it worth eating red citrus?
Images source: © Adobe Stock
10:41 AM EST, January 15, 2024

Citrus fruits are part of the Rutaceae family. This group comprises over 30 different varieties of fruits, which include popular ones like lemons, limes, oranges, pomelos, mandarins, grapefruits, and less common types like citrofortunella, calamondin, sweetie, and tangelo. Each fruit is a potent antioxidant powerhouse, fighting against diseases and aging.

The Origin of Citrus Fruits

Have you ever pondered the origin of citrus fruits? They most likely descend from the citron, a plant native to the foothills of the Himalayas. Citron was domesticated in India and China thousands of years ago and introduced to Europe in the first century AD by Pliny the Elder, a notable Roman historian and writer. Smitten by the sour-sweet taste of the fruit while serving as a governor in one of the African provinces, he brought it back with him.

Citrus fruits have specific environmental demands and thrive only in warm climates. They naturally occur in regions like China, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain, Turkey and Italy.

New varieties of citrus fruits are constantly being introduced to the market. In particular, those with red flesh are gaining traction. Before this trend, red grapefruits were the only familiar red citrus fruits. Now, you can also find red lemons and oranges, which are exceptionally juicy and offer a taste significantly different from the traditional citrus fruits we're familiar with.

Red Citrus Fruits: A Storehouse of Vitamins

Red citrus fruits boast a higher vitamin content than their non-red counterparts. They exhibit alkalizing solid properties, neutralizing excess acid in the body. How can you tell if your body is overly acidic? Symptoms to watch out for include a lack of energy, persistent fatigue, concentration difficulties, headaches, and a weakened immune system, leading to frequent bouts of cold.

But the health benefits of red citrus fruits don't stop there. These fruits contain pectin—a soluble dietary fiber that reduces sugar and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. Increased LDL cholesterol can lead to severe circulatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, or stroke. Pectins also function as a detoxifier, flushing out excess toxins and heavy metals from the body.

Red citrus fruits are also rich in ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, one of the most potent antioxidants that fortifies the immune system and negates the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals hasten the body's aging processes and contribute to the development of many grave diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's.

Additionally, red citrus fruits supply other essential vitamins, A, B, and E, along with key trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Their vibrant red color can be credited to anthocyanins, natural pigments that rank among the most potent antioxidants for neutralizing free radicals.

Lycopene deserves special mention, too. This compound reduces the "bad" LDL cholesterol level, which, in excess, can stick to arterial walls, forming atherosclerotic plaques. It also prevents blood platelet aggregation and atherosclerosis development. Regular intake of lycopene-rich food lowers the risk of severe circulatory system diseases, including acute myocardial infarction or coronary heart disease. It has also demonstrated anticancer properties. Notably, red grapefruit accelerates fat burning while providing a few calories (about 42 kcal in roughly 3.5 oz).

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