FoodSurprising health benefits of citrus

Surprising health benefits of citrus

The healthiest citrus fruits
The healthiest citrus fruits
Images source: © Adobe Stock

10:31 AM EST, January 21, 2024

There are about thirty different varieties of citrus fruits, including conventional ones such as lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, pomelos, and grapefruits. Additionally, it encompasses lesser-known ones like the calamondin, sweetie, and tangelo.

What do we know about citrus fruits?

The origin of all known and unknown citrus fruits can be traced back to the so-called citron, a plant that grew thousands of years ago in India and China. During the first century of our era, Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian, introduced it to Europe after tasting the fruit while serving as a governor in an African province.

Primarily, most citrus fruits are hybrid species, for example, the crossbred giant oranges and tangerines. Grown in warm, humid climates, citrus fruits can be found in China, Brazil, southern parts of the United States, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, and Italy.

We commonly find a vast array of fruit varieties in the citrus group in stores. Lately, red-fleshed citrus fruits are garnering increased interest. Although red grapefruits were the sole red citrus fruits for a long time, now, even red lemons and oranges are available. But what value do they offer?

Are red citrus fruits healthy?

Undeniably, these fruits are a rich source of various vitamins and possess strong alkalizing properties, neutralizing excess acid effectively. Excess acidity can result in a lack of vital energy, continuous feelings of exhaustion, concentration problems, and increased susceptibility to infections.

Red citrus fruits are loaded with pectin, a soluble dietary fiber known to lower the levels of sugar and "bad" LDL cholesterol, thereby reducing cardiovascular diseases. They aid in removing toxins and heavy metals from the body.

Citrus© Adobe Stock

These fruits contain an abundance of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and neutralizes the detrimental effects of free radicals. These substances hasten the aging process and spur the development of severe diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.

Apart from these, citrus fruits contain vitamins A, B, and E, and essential trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Citrus varieties with red flesh hold the same benefits and more.

Do red citrus fruits have advantages over others?

The red color in citrus fruits, especially oranges, primarily stems from a high concentration of anthocyanins, natural pigments with antioxidant properties that combat free radicals.

Red grapefruit holds numerous health benefits. It contains lycopene, an antioxidant that lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of severe cardiovascular diseases, including an acute myocardial infarction or coronary artery disease. Additionally, it possesses anti-cancer properties.

Red grapefruit is low in calories (50 kcal per 3.5 oz) and has a low glycemic index. The white pulp covering is rich in naringin, responsible for the bitter taste, and yet beneficial as it accelerates metabolism.

While it's advantageous to include red citrus fruits in our diet, it's best not to consume them in the evening as they may disturb sleep. Additionally, they can occasionally cause gastric disorders, like unpleasant heartburn.

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