Citrus Fruits are a Source of Heart-Healthy Peptides
Do you know the list of benefits of eating citrus fruits is a long one? They are power-houses of health, as many know, but did you know that citrus fruits are a source of heart-healthy peptides (bioactive peptides)?
Novel bioactive peptides from citrus fruits have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective benefits. They are derived from the proteins of citrus fruits (and other foods) and help prevent disease—particularly cardiovascular diseases.
Do You Know the Long List of Citrus Fruits Benefits?
Some people enjoy the tart taste of citrus while others not so much. However new benefits are forthcoming regularly that make it plain that everyone should acquire the taste. Citrus has become a powerhouse. Introduced to North America hundreds of years ago, at that time were recognized for their medicinal properties.
In addition to the healthy bioactive peptides present in citrus fruits, here are a few of the other nutrients present in those plump, juicy, and colorful fruits:
- Vitamin C. Otherwise known as ascorbic acid this is one of the most used vitamins in the world and citrus fruits are loaded with it. Vitamin C is necessary for building healthy body tissues as well as other well known benefits which we will go into a bit later.
- Flavonoids. Citrus fruits are an important source of dietary flavonoids which protect the cells against free radicals. Citrus flavonoids improve glucose tolerance, which protects against diabetes, regulating insulin secretion. They also modulate the microbiome, thereby improving gastrointestinal function. British scientists claim that adding citrus to your daily diet can ease bloat and other digestive problems, plus assist in weight loss.
- Dietary Fiber. Citrus fruits contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Long List of Citrus Fruits Health Benefits
Below is a sampling of the myriad benefits of those magic little citrus fruits:
1. Also due to their vitamin C content, citrus fruits can help to ward off cataracts. The fluid in the eye that bathes the lens is high in vitamin C. This stops the lens from oxidizing and protects it from becoming cloudy. The more vitamin C we imbibe, the more of this fluid is present and doing its job. It can also slow the growth of cataracts which have already
2. The fiber content in oranges and grapefruits help to stabilize your blood sugar which in turn keeps you feeling fuller for longer. The result of course is weight loss. Low in calories themselves, it is obvious that they are excellent for this purpose.
- 1 clementine – 35 calories
- 1 orange – 62 calories
- 1/2 white grapefruit – 39 calories
- 1/2 pink grapefruit – 52 calories
- juice from one lemon – 12 calories
3. Antioxidant rich flavonoids in citrus fruits improve brain health and reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by reducing cell breakdown.
4. A study done in 2014 found that kidney stones are more common in people who eat few if any citrus fruits.
5. Phytochemicals in citrus fruits reduce heart harming inflammation and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.
6. The vitamin C in oranges, limes, grapefruit, and lemons helps the body to absorb iron. Pairing vitamin C with the iron from plant foods increases the absorption by 5-6 times.
7. Citrus fruit shows significant protection against cancers of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and colon.
8. Water is not the only way to stay hydrated. Oranges are 90% water.
9. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consumed more Vitamin C such as that found in citrus fruits, were less likely to have wrinkles. This is due to the additional production of collagen.
Oranges, Mandarins, Grapefruit, Pomelos, Lemons and Limes
Surveyed individually, we can ascertain the health benefits of each of these powerhouse fruits.
– Besides being known for huge vitamin C content, oranges also contain phytonutrients such as hesperidin which lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol.
– Mandarins are loaded with antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. They prevent Hepatitis-C patients from developing liver cancer, as well as lowering the risk of liver disease, hardened arteries, and insulin resistance.
– Grapefruit contains limonoid which inhibits tumors, and naringenin which repairs DNA in prostate cancer cells. They also help to prevent kidney stones and protect against colon cancer.
– Pomelos, although not as popular or well known as the others also have amazing health benefits. They aid in the digestive process and its peel stops cancer cells from spreading in breast cancer patients.
– The high vitamin C content in lemons helps to prevent and treat infections. They are diuretics, so benefit people prone to urinary tract infections, arthritis, and rheumatism. If mixed with coffee it is known to stop headaches. Mixed with hot water it relieves nausea and heartburn.
– Once given to sailors to prevent scurvy, limes are still used in disease prevention. The juice is used to rejuvenate skin.
Now on to citric acid. Besides being a main ingredient in citrus fruits it can also be found in packaged foods, canned foods, hummus, salsa, chicken stock, some yogurts, some cheese, baked goods, soft drinks, beer, and wine.
Citric acid adds a sour or bitter flavor to foods and drinks, but can be replaced by fresh lemon juice mixed with water or a bit of vinegar. Although not to be over consumed, citric acid does have some similar health benefits to that of citrus fruits. It can be purchased in powder or liquid form or as a supplement. In medication form it is called citrate. Other citrus supplements include Lutein and vitamins C and E.
How Does Citric Acid Affect Your Teeth?
Is too much citric acid bad for your teeth?
This article would not be complete without the ever appearing warning so here are the potential down sides. Eating large quantities of citrus fruits could cause cavities due to the acid eroding tooth enamel.
There you have it.
Is Juicing Fruit as Healthy as Just Eating Them?
What is better: eating fruit or drinking fruit juice?
Consuming fruit juice is not nearly as healthy as whole fruit. The juice contains much more sugar and much less fiber than the whole fruit, itself.
Juicing is good for chronic health issues, or health conditions that you want to recover from as quickly as possible. Just make sure you mix lots of vegetables in. Straight fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, and can spike your insulin levels.
Pharmaceutical Interactions with Citrus Fruits
Grapefruit can react adversely to some medications such as Lipitor, Zocor, Plendil, Procardia, Cyclosporine, Valium, Halcion, Allegra, Zoloft, and Buspar.
The grapefruit could affect absorption, distribution, and metabolism, thereby reducing the effectiveness. If you are taking any of these drugs consult your health care provider before adding citrus to your diet.
The list of benefits of eating citrus fruits is a long one, and just a reminder that citrus fruits are a source of heart-healthy bioactive peptides. This is often overlooked, or not well known, but these peptides are very important for protecting the heart from disease, and more.
Of course, there are many other health benefits to eating citrus fruits They are not only delicious, but a health giant and can be used in a myriad of ways besides being consumed fresh. Salads, dressings, beverages, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, and countless other foods benefit from an infusion of citrus. Just remember to eat the real fruit when possible and forgo the juices.