The old expression is an “apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but perhaps that should have been an orange!
The truth is, oranges and other citrus fruits have amazing health benefits. You probably know that eating as little as one orange a day, is enough to get your recommended daily dose of vitamin C. But, being a delightfully refreshing source of vitamin C, is only scratching the surface for their many positive properties.
Here are 10 amazing things you may not know about the benefits of citrus fruits.
- Weight loss – Citrus fruits are packed with fiber, which aids in weight loss. Additionally, citrus fruits are low in calories. One medium orange has 62 calories, while grapefruit has 39 calories, yet because of the fiber, these fruits have a high “satiety” factor, meaning they can make you feel full, or less hungry.
- Iron levels – Wait a second, I know what you are saying, citrus fruits are not a source of iron, and that is true, they are not. But, biologically speaking, vitamin C is essential in helping your body absorb iron, so, adding more citrus is especially important for women, who often suffer from iron depletion.
- Cancer prevention – Citrus fruits are loaded with cancer fighting anti-oxidants. Many studies have shown that citrus fruits may lower the risk of digestive cancers including esophageal, pancreatic, and stomach cancers. Additional research shows that drinking grapefruit juice daily can lower the risk of lung cancer.
- Heart health – Citrus fruits fall into the category of the superfoods, not because their bright colors make them look like the cast of The Avengers – but because they are loaded with powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants can help prevent the buildup of arterial plaque, and thereby reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.
- Brain health – A recent study found that fresh-squeezed citrus juices can boost your brain function and prevent cognitive decline as you age. The antioxidants in citrus fruits fight the brain inflammation that can lead to cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.
- Cold and flu symptoms – While it is a common misconception that vitamin C can prevent colds, many studies have shown that vitamin C, along with the other nutrients and flavonoids in citrus fruits can lessen the severity of cold and flu symptoms, and may shorten the duration of a cold as well.
- Skin health – Vitamin C is known to be a precursor to collagen production. Increasing your intake of citrus can improve collagen production, and reduce the risk of lines and wrinkles.
- Hydration – Speaking of skin, you have no doubt read in my columns about how important proper hydration is to skin, digestion, and overall health. Citrus fruits are a refreshing way to keep you hydrated, especially in these long hot days of summer.
- Kidney Health – Developing and passing calcium oxalate stones, or kidney stones, have been said to be one of the most painful things a patient can endure. Well, you may never deal with that pain, if you increase your intake of citrus fruits. A recent study found that kidney stones were far more prevalent among people who eat little or no citrus fruits.
- Water retention – Citrus fruits can help you get rid of “water weight.” Many people don’t know that citrus fruits are an excellent source of potassium. Potassium helps get rid of water weight by balancing sodium levels. In fact, if you tend to retain water, or are on a sodium restricted diet due to high blood pressure, it is recommended that you eat an orange or other citrus fruit after a salty meal.
Besides eating these colorful, refreshingly, thirst quenching superfoods, there are many other fun ways to add made citrus fruits into your diet.
Try squeezing the juice or the “zest” of the skins of oranges, limes, or lemons on chicken, fish, or a salad to instantly boost the flavor. Or try turning the juice into the base for a dressing or sauce. And of course, you can always place a few slices of limes, lemons, or any citrus fruit into your water or any beverage to add flavor.