Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits

Apples get all the credit for keeping doctors away, but citrus fruits’ nutritional benefits can not be dismissed. To make things even easier, nature has already prepared them. Whether you are looking to fight off a cold (remember the classic, talking orange juice carton advising you drink up?), get fresh-looking skin, or add more cancer-fighting powers to your vegan diet, citrus can help. You get vitamin C, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, and more it is a sweet and sour offer that is hard to refuse.

Citrus fruits grow on flowering trees and shrubs. They are characterized by a leathery rind and white pith that encases juicy segments. They are native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and possibly Southeast Asia. Nowadays, they are cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates all over the world. Major production hubs include Spain, Brazil, China, the US, Mexico and India. Here are some popular varieties of citrus fruits:

  • Oranges: The usual go-to fruit for runny nose days, oranges are renowned for their vitamin C content. The brightly colored fruit also has a variety of phytonutrients, one of which—hesperidin—has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Since most of hesperidin is found in the peel and inner white pulp, try making some Candied Orange Peel for a quick snack. Ex: Valencia, navel, blood orange, cara cara.
  • Mandarins:These easy-to-peel little bites are packed with loads of antioxidants and nutrients. Studies have also found that the fruit’s juice has anti-cancer properties, preventing Hepititus-C patients from developing liver cancer. Researchers also found that higher mandarin orange consumption leads to lower risk of liver disease, hardened arteries, and insulin resistance associated with diabetes. Ex: Satsuma, clementine, tangor, tangelo.
  • Limes: While limes are a bit on the sour side eaten plain, the little green guys boast tons of health benefits. In the past, soldiers and sailors were given lime to prevent scurvy; even now those who work in polluting environments use limes for disease protection. Whether consumed or applied externally, lime juice and oils also rejuvenate skin and reduce body odor. Ex: Persian, key lime, kaffir.
  • Grapefruit: Eating half a grapefruit before every meal is more than just a weight-loss tip. The pink colored citrus is ranked amongst the highest for antioxidants and contains the phytonutrients liminoid, which inhibits tumors, and naringenin, which repairs DNA in human prostate cancer cells. Plus, studies have found grapefruits reduce kidney stone risk, protect against colon cancer, and boost liver enzymes. Ex: White, ruby red, oroblanco.
  • Lemons: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And use them to garnish your meals. And rub lemon balm on your skin. You get the picture. The often-understated lemon has a variety of healing properties and was even used by Romans to cure many poisons. It’s high vitamin C content helps prevent and treat infections and speed the healing of fevers. Lemon is also a diuretic, beneficial for people prone to urinary tract infections and high uric acid problems, including arthritis and rheumatism. Mix it with coffee to cure a headache, or add to hot water to relieve nausea or heartburn. Ex: Eureka, Meyer.
  • Other kinds: More than a symbol of good luck, the biggest of the citrus family aids the digestive process, can relieve problems ranging from fatigue to sore throat, and its peel has been found to stop cancer cells from spreading in breast cancer patients. Ex: Pomelos.


Citrus is an excellent source of immune-boosting Vitamin C that is why so many people reach for these fruits during cold and flu season. But citrus offers many other impressive health benefits, as well. The juicy, colorful fruits are packed with good nutrients, not to mention flavor, making them a great addition to a healthy diet. Here, some reasons why you should be adding more citrus to your plate. Please find below list of benefits-

Good Source of Fiber

Citrus fruits are a good source of fiber. Just one cup of orange segments contains four grams of fiber. Recommending us to consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories we eat. Women should aim to consume about 25 grams of fiber per day, and citrus can help you meet that goal.

Fiber has several health benefits, including improving digestive health and aiding weight loss. Oranges are particularly high in soluble fiber, the kind of fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels. Compared to other fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits are unique in that they have a higher ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber.

Rich in Vitamins

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C. It is a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and keeps your skin smooth and elastic. Citrus fruits also have good amounts of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, including B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper.

Additionally, they are rich in plant compounds that have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Citrus fruits are very nutritious, offering a host of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that help keep you healthy.

Good for Heart

Eating citrus fruits could be good for your heart. It contains flavonoids, plant compounds that may promote heart health. A Japanese study found that people who ate higher amounts of these fruits had lower rates of heart disease and stroke. Also suggests that antioxidant-rich red grapefruits are linked to a decrease in bad blood pressure.

Soluble fiber and flavonoids may improve cholesterol levels by raising "good" HDL cholesterol and lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. And many of the flavonoids in citrus fruits, including one called naringin, are strong antioxidants that benefit the heart in several ways.

Helps in Weight Loss

Citrus delivers tons of juicy flavor with little to no fat, sodium, or calories (an orange has just 45), making them extremely diet-friendly. They are low in calories, yet their water and fiber contents help fill you up.

To start incorporating more citrus into your diet, Moore recommends squeezing the juice or grating the zest on chicken, fish, or a salad to instantly boost the flavor. Or try turning the juice into the base for a dressing or sauce. If all else fails, you can always place a few lemon slices in your water to give it some subtle flavor.

Reduce Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are painful mineral crystals. They can form when your urine is very concentrated or when you have higher-than-normal amounts of stone-forming minerals in your urine. One type of kidney stone is caused by low levels of citrate in urine.

Many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, can raise the levels of citrate in your urine, lowering the risk of kidney stones. Drinking citrus juices and eating these fruits can offer a natural alternative to potassium citrate supplements. Eating citrus fruits may help lower the risk of kidney stones in some people by raising citrate levels in urine.

Protect Against Cancer

Studies have linked citrus fruits to a reduced risk of certain cancers. In one study, people who ate one grapefruit or drank one serving of grapefruit juice daily had a lower risk of lung cancer.

Other studies have suggested that citrus fruits may also protect against esophageal, stomach, breast and pancreatic cancers. These fruits contain a host of plant compounds, including flavonoids, that may help protect against cancer. Some of these flavonoids act as antioxidants and may block the expression of certain genes that are responsible for some degenerative diseases, including cancer. Citrus fruits may also help fight cancer by suppressing cancers, blocking the formation of new cancers and making carcinogens inactive.

In fact, a Japanese study found that people who ate higher amounts of these fruits had lower rates of heart disease and stroke. Many compounds in citrus fruits can benefit heart health by improving cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.

Protect Brain

The Flavonoids in citrus fruits may help ward off neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, which result from the breakdown of cells in the nervous system. Flavonoids found in citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory capabilities that are thought to help protect against the chain of events that causes the nervous system to deteriorate.

Specific types of flavonoids, including hesperidin and apigenin, have been shown to protect brain cells and improve brain function in mice and test-tube studies. Several studies in older adults have also shown that citrus juices may boost brain function. Citrus fruits and juices may help boost brain function and protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders.

Shorten Cold

Citrus delivers a healthy dose of Vitamin C(51 mg in an orange, 38 mg in a grapefruit, and 30 mg in a lemon). vitamin C can not prevent colds, research suggests it might reduce the duration and severity of them. Studies also show that the vitamin could help shorten the duration of your symptoms by about a day which can make a big difference when you are feeling unwell.

Source of Potassium

Bananas are not only source of Potassium. Citrus is also a great source of this mineral, which is important for fluid regulation, mineral balance, and muscle contraction. Potassium also works to counter-regulate the amount of salt in your diet by helping your body flush out sodium. While this is not an excuse to douse your food in salt, it is another good reason to load up on citrus. By eating plenty of potassium rich foods, you can help lower your risk of stroke by 21%, as well as reduce your risk of heart disease. 


High Amount Cause Cavities

Eating lots of citrus fruits or juices could increase the risk of cavities. That is because the acid in citrus fruits erodes tooth enamel. This is a particular risk if you sip on lemon water all day long, bathing your teeth in acid. Interestingly, certain compounds in citrus peels may combat the bacteria that cause dental cavities, although more research is needed to see how that information could be used.

Unhealthy Citrus Juice 

While orange and grapefruit juices contain lots of vitamin C and other nutrients often found in whole citrus fruits, they are not quite as healthy. That is because a serving of juice delivers much more sugar and way less fiber than a serving of whole fruit.

First, more sugar per serving translates to more calories. Drinking fruit juice and other high-calorie beverages can cause you to gain weight.

Second, when your body takes in large amounts of fructose (the type of sugar in fruit juice), it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and delivered to your liver.

If your liver gets more fructose than it can handle, it turns some of the extra fructose into fat. Over time, those fat deposits can cause fatty liver disease. Getting fructose from whole fruit is not a problem, given that you're getting a smaller amount at a time. Plus, the fiber found in fruit buffers the fructose, causing it to be absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream.


They are nutritious and contain plant compounds that can protect against a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction and kidney stones. But aim to consume whole fruits, rather than a lot of fruit juice, as its high sugar content can lead to problems. Overall, citrus fruits are healthy, low in calories and convenient to eat. Most people could benefit from adding more citrus to their diet.

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