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What Makes Citrus So Healthy? Hint: It’s More than Just Vitamin C!

What Makes Citrus So Healthy? Hint: It’s More than Just Vitamin C!

Let’s get back to basics. What are citrus fruits? Citrus fruits come from flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family. When we say the term ‘citrus fruits,’ it includes popular fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and pomelo.

All citrus fruits have a thick rind from which aromatics and extracts are taken and a pulpy soft center divided into segments that are full of sweet, acidic juice. How sweet, bitter or acidic citrus fruits are depend on which citrus fruit and varietal you’re eating.

While those of us living in North America associate citrus with California or Florida, these fruits are actually native to tropical regions in Southeast Asia and Australia.

These delicious fruits have been enjoyed since ancient times. People of ancient civilizations used citrus fruits for food, medicine, and even used them as status symbols. As citrus cultivation gradually spread to the Mediterranean and Europe, royal families and other elites often cultivated groves of oranges or other fruits for decor.

From their sweet, pulpy fruit to their crisp, tart juice, we think citrus fruits are very a-peeling! Read on to discover all the great citrus benefits you can gain from these fruits, and why we love using lemons, limes, and oranges in Little West cold-pressed juices.

Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits

benefits of citrus plants

Not only do citrus fruits score highly for their taste, they also score highly for their far-reaching health benefits. There are lots of great citrus benefits shared by all citrus fruits. We’ve listed our top 3 so you can know exactly how great they are for your health!

They’re bursting with nutrients

The main benefit of citrus fruits is that they’re super rich in nutrients. It’s widely known that they’re a great source of vitamin C, a vitamin that is crucial for strengthening the immune system and for taking care of your skin.

They’re rich in other important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, potassium, magnesium and copper, all essential for maintaining healthy functioning of the body! 

Citrus fruits are also high in various plant compounds, such as flavonoids, carotenoids and essential oils, from which important antioxidants are derived. Antioxidants are used in the body to combat oxidative stress, which could cause premature aging and cardiovascular disease.

They may help to reduce the risk of cancer

What better reason to eat more citrus fruits than the fact they may have cancer-fighting properties? Various studies have demonstrated a possible link between citrus fruits and reduced risk of certain cancers. 

One such study showed that there was a 28% reduced risk in stomach cancer associated with a high intake of citrus fruits. Another demonstrated that there was a reduced risk of lung cancer amongst people who consumed grapefruit daily. More studies have shown a probable link between high citrus fruit consumption and lower risk of breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

As we mentioned in the previous point, citrus fruits are super high in antioxidants and plant compounds, which may be why they could be so effective at reducing the risk of certain cancers. Some research has even suggested that citrus fruits could suppress cancers by making carcinogens inactive.

They could reduce the risk of kidney stones

Kidney stones are small, hard objects made of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. They are caused when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances than your urine is able to dilute.

There are different types of kidney stone, but one type is caused by a low level of citrate in urine. Not only has there been evidence suggesting that low citrus fruit intake is linked to kidney stones, but research has also suggested that eating certain fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, could lower your risk of kidney stones by raising the levels of citrate in urine. 

And if those citrus benefits weren’t enough to convince you, here are even more citrus benefits specific to lemons, limes and oranges - some of our favourite citrus fruits here at Little West!

Lemons

lemons

When life gives you lemons, celebrate their health benefits! With a notoriously bitter taste, lemons are an absolute staple citrus fruit to have at home for their amazing health benefits and versatility.

One of these wonderful benefits is that lemons could help improve digestive health. Lemons are full of soluble fibre, which can slow and aid the digestion of starches and sugars, as well as potentially lowering all blood sugar levels. 

Lemons are also a natural source of two plant compounds called hesperidin and diosmin which have been found to lower bad cholesterol.

One of the best health benefits of lemon juice is its ability to help the body absorb more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in different foods. In other words, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon to your salad means you’ll get more nutritional bang for your buck! Lemon helps with iron absorption in particular, which helps prevent or reduce anemia. 

Limes

limes

Get “in lime” for health! Limes are bursting with a tangy, refreshing taste ready to boost the flavour profiles of endless drinks and meals. 

Like lemons and other citrus fruits, limes contain high levels of antioxidants and compounds such as flavonoids, which could help to combat certain cancers and diseases like diabetes.

One 2013 study indicated that consuming lime peel and lime juice may slow the rate of plaque buildup on artery walls, possibly preventing atherosclerosis. 

Limes also have potent, natural bacteria-fighting abilities. Lime juice has a very high acidity level, which can neutralize or kill certain strains of harmful bacteria. It may reduce bloating and aid digestion, too. 

Oranges

oranges

What are citrus fruits without oranges? Possibly our favourite citrus fruit, oranges are delicious and diverse. They can be sweet, sour, or anywhere in between, making them the perfect snack and juice ingredient!

There are a lot of citrus benefits to be found in oranges. Just one orange has 100% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. As we’ve already mentioned, vitamin C is super important for helping support the immune system. As well as being rich in vitamin C, oranges also contain calcium and potassium.

They also contain about 10% of our fibre daily value. A diet that is high in fibre could provide some invaluable health benefits, such as reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.

If you’re pregnant, oranges also provide a natural healthy dose of folate, which is important in preventing birth defects. Folate is a B vitamin used to make red and white blood cells, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. 

How to Incorporate More Citrus Fruits into your Diet

A great, easy way to get more citrus benefits into your diet is to drink more juices with citrus! However, we don’t just mean any old juice you pick up at the supermarket. A lot of fruit juices are overly processed and are loaded with added sugar.

That’s why you should get your citrus juice intake by drinking Little West cold-pressed juices. We use locally-sourced, fresh produce to make the healthiest juices around. What makes our juice different is that it gets all the goodness out of citrus fruits by cold-pressing them, squeezing out all the nutrients that could be lost in a typical pasteurizing process.

Here are some of our best cold-pressed juices containing citrus fruits. They’re a healthful and naturally sweet way to hydrate yourself during a busy day.

Sunrise

Sunrise Juice

Start your day the right way with two antioxidant-rich citrus fruits: lemons and oranges. As well as the benefits of citrus in this cold-pressed juice, you’ll also reap the rewards of other healthy ingredients like anti-inflammatory turmeric and hydrating coconut water.

The Clover

The Clover Juice

Time to let limes take the limelight with The Clover! This cold-pressed juice is full of green veggie goodness as well as citrus benefits. It’s got a perfect amount of natural sweetness that will leave you wanting more every time. 

Gingersnap

Gingersnap Juice

Keep colds at bay with this immunity-boosting cold-pressed juice. Fresh ginger juice and lemon gives this drink a real zing, so it’s ideal for re-energizing the body if you’re feeling slow and lethargic. It may even help with digestion and bloating!

Conclusion: It’s Time To Sit Back and Sip on some Citrus Juice

So what are citrus fruits? Other than being delicious, fabulously-flavoured fruits, they’re powerhouses of nutrients, minerals and health benefits. We think that you’d be silly not to incorporate more of these treasure troves of citrus health into your diet. And what easier way than sipping on some cold-pressed juice from Little West? Being healthy has never felt so easy!

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