Citrus, which originated from Southeast Asia, is much more than just a shrub associated with acidity and bitterness. The first thing that most people think of when they hear “citrus fruits” is vitamin C. While vitamin C does play a large role in the health benefits of citrus fruits, there are also many other vitamins and minerals that strongly contribute to the health benefits of citrus fruits. Citrus fruits aren’t just healthy because of the nutrients they are made up of, but also because of what it lacks. Citrus does not contain sodium, fat or cholesterol. The lack of these unhealthy components alone already makes citrus fruit a healthy choice.
Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits
So what specifically makes citrus fruits so healthy? Let’s start with the most well known component, vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for building strong connective tissue in the body as well as absorbing iron. Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia so you want to make sure your body obtains the necessary vitamins to prevent this disease. Vitamin C also provides antioxidants which protect against cancer-causing elements and helps boost the immune system.
With that said, if you are someone who is always catching a cold, perhaps you do not have enough vitamin C in your diet. Conditions related to inflammation such as arthritis and asthma may also be treated with vitamin C. Other benefits of vitamin C include protecting against cardiovascular disease, diabetic heart disease, and overall heart health. While oranges are the most popular citrus fruit for containing vitamin C, other popular fruits that provide a good source of the vitamin include grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, and tangerines. Another vitamin in citrus fruits which is beneficial to your health is folate. This vitamin’s main responsibility is cell production and growth.
If your body is not producing the correct amount of DNA, RNA, and mature red blood cells, you may end up getting anaemia or other blood related health problems. With that said, it is important for the body make sure it has the recommended daily intake of folate which is 180 mcg for females and 200 mcg for males. This can be done by adding citrus fruit to your diet.
Along with folate, potassium is an important mineral which helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure. Potassium also works as an electrolyte that retains your body’s water and acid balance. It is recommended that your body consumes about 2000mg of potassium a day. To help reach that recommended dosage, try adding citrus fruit and citrus fruit juice to your daily diet as these foods are a great source of potassium.
Do all citrus fruits have the same health benefits? Not exactly. While all citrus fruits are made up of the same nutrients and have a lot of the same health benefits, some fruits have specific benefits that other fruits lack in. For example, lemons are very well known for being a natural diuretic. This detoxifying fruit can cleanse unwanted bacteria out of your body and also help relieve acid indigestion and stomach aches. On the other hand, limes are well known for their ability to help maintain a healthy digestive system. They contain dietary fiber which helps prevent constipation and lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome. While lemons and limes may be too bitter to eat alone, they could easily be added to your diet by simply adding a slice to your drink or using the juice as seasoning.