Benefits of Adding More Citrus Fruits to Your Diet

Written by Dr. Jonathan Peterson, Updated on April 8th, 2021

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In general, fruit is something that should be a staple of your diet considering that most fruits offer a multitude of vitamins and minerals that are amazing for your health.

Not to mention, most fruits are tasty and delicious – nature’s dessert! If you’re struggling to find more ways to add fruit to your diet, consider adding more citrus fruits.

Even though you may not live in a climate where they are grown, there are so many online vendors that offer citrus fruits for sale – many could be ones that you’ve never even tried before!

Many Nutrients Found in Citrus Fruits

Most people know that citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, mandarins, grapefruit, limes, etc.) are full of vitamin C. Humans need to consume adequate amounts of vitamin C since we cannot produce it ourselves. Otherwise, we develop scurvy. Amazingly, just one medium orange or grapefruit will provide you with 100% of your daily required amount of vitamin C. Wow, that’s easy!

There’s more than just vitamin C though. There are also B vitamins (niacin, B6, and thiamine), potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Potassium is also essential for our health because it’s an electrolyte that regulates fluid levels in cells, sends nerve signals, and regulates muscle contractions. Lastly, you’ll find antioxidants including carotenoids and flavonoids.

Multiple Health Benefits from Citrus

Now that you know what is in citrus fruits, what do all of these vitamins and antioxidants do for us? When you eat fresh citrus fruits or their juice (preferably with no sugar added) you will reap the following benefits:

Improved Heart Health

Multiple scientific studies have shown that people who consume higher amounts of citrus fruits have lower rates of heart disease. When consumed in moderate amounts, both the fruits and juices have positive effects on heart health.

Reduced Cancer Risk

The nutrients found in citrus fruits may offer protection against cancer, including esophageal, lung, stomach, breast, and pancreatic cancer. This could also be due to the high amount of antioxidants as well. Antioxidants help to stop and repair cell damage free radicals, in turn inhibiting cancer growth.

The fiber content also helps to keep the digestive tract running smoothly. If you consume enough fiber and your digestion is in good shape, you have a lowered risk of developing cancer. The answer is in our food!

Improved Cognitive Health

Scientific research has demonstrated that the consumption of citrus fruits may help protect us from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The antioxidants, or flavonoids, found in the fruit helps to slow deterioration and delaying the onset of both. One flavonoid in particular, hesperidin, seems to be the major player in terms of cognitive decline protection.

Healthy Bones

If you thought calcium was the only mineral that gave you healthy bones, think again. Vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium also improve bone structure, density, and strength. In addition, vitamin C can help us absorb more calcium and vitamin D from our food during digestion.

Healthy Kidneys

One type of kidney stone is caused by low levels of citrate in the urine. Citrate, or citric acid, is an organic acid found in citrus fruits. If you do not consume a lot of citruses, you are at a higher risk of producing kidney stones. If you regularly suffer from kidney stones, try adding more citrus to your diet and see if it helps.

Better Iron Absorption

We can only consume about 14-18% of the iron available in our foods because of our natural biochemistry. However, consuming vitamin C with iron-rich foods at the same time can help increase the amount of iron absorbed.

Robust Immune System

Vitamin C, flavonoids, and carotenoids support our immune systems by reducing inflammation and improving cellular communication. Luckily, citrus fruits are in season during the wintertime, prime cold, and flu season, so load up!

Healthy Skin

Vitamin C has been well-known in terms of skincare, wrinkle reduction, and anti-aging effects in the skincare community. Some people apply it directly to their skin. Vitamin C protects our cells from damage from free radicals and lets our skin cells repair themselves faster.

It has been noted that people who consume more vitamin C have a lower risk of skin damage when exposed to sunlight. In addition, vitamin C is used when our bodies build collagen. Collagen is what gives us our youthful look.

Improved Respiratory Health

Vitamin C and flavonoids reduce the frequency of asthma attacks and improve patient’s symptoms due to their ability to reduce inflammation.

Manage or Prevent Diabetes

Just because fruit has sugar in it does not mean that it is bad for diabetics. When whole fruits are eaten, fiber is included which slows down the sugar absorption in the blood. People who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, in general, have a lower risk of developing diabetes. The citrus fruits will also prevent and reduce any inflammation caused by diabetes as well.

Some Things to Be Cautious About With Citrus

Fruit does contain a lot of sugar, however, most of it is good sugar and will not raise your blood sugar due to the fiber content -- if you are eating the whole fruit! This is what is recommended. If you do decide to drink fruit juices, fresh is best, and do not drink fruit juice at night. Juices are very high in sugar (simple carbs with no fiber to slow down digestion) and it will mostly turn to fat if drunk at night because our metabolism slows significantly while sleeping.

Citrus fruits can also be very acidic. If it bothers you or causes heartburn, consider watering down the drink or cutting back on the amount of citrus you eat because too much acid can be detrimental. Some people are more sensitive than others.

Pink grapefruit, oranges and mandarins have a lower acid content than, say, lemons or limes. Some people dilute their juices with seltzer water or even add baking soda to neutralize the acids.

In addition, if you are on a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) program, elevated sugar consumption can interfere with HGH or sermorelin injections. It is recommended that you wait several hours after your injection before eating or drinking sugary fruits, especially juice.

Now that you know all the incredible benefits of citrus fruits, vitamin C, and antioxidants, get to the grocery store and load up. Or go online and try something new like a blood orange!

Reference

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