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Benefits of Citrus

Updated on February 20, 2017

One night, while watching television, I had a vicious craving for citrus. I walked over to the counter where we keep an assortment of fruit and couldn't decide whether I wanted an orange or a grapefruit, so, I did the only thing I could think of - I grabbed both oranges, the grapefruit and for good measure, the lime and I ate them all.

While snacking on my delicious citrus platter, I found myself wondering what the benefits of citrus were. And with that, the television was turned off and I decided to do some research.

Today, while snacking on the most delicious tangerine I've ever had, I thought I would share a few of the many benefits of citrus fruits.

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Now, we've probably all heard time and time again that oranges are a great source of vitamin C. And it's true, one medium-sized orange contains approximately 70 mg of vitamin C, nearly 100% of your daily requirements. But the truth is, all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. In fact, a grapefruit has approximately 88 mg of vitamin C. Why is vitamin C so important?

For starters, vitamin C boosts our immune systems. And with cold and flu season right around the corner, now is the time to start increasing your vitamin C intake.

Vitamin C is also beneficial for your skin and eyes. While I can't personally speak about citrus fruits and vision, I can say that I always notice an improvement in my skin when I eat citrus fruits regularly.

On the topic of skin, recently, while trying to choose a treatment at a spa, I learned that grapefruit helps with collagen production, which helps skin maintain its elasticity.

And don't forget, vitamin C is the only way to prevent scurvy.

In addition to being high in vitamin C, grapefruit is also a great source of vitamin A. I don't know about you, but to me, grapefruit sounds like a much more appealing source of vitamin A than some of the alternatives such as liver, cod liver oil or seaweed.

Due to their potassium levels, citrus fruits, when consumed regularly, can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. In fact, in one study of over 69,000 women, those who ate several servings of citrus fruits a day lowered their risk for a stroke by 10% than women who did not get enough citrus fruits in their diet.

Citrus fruits are an excellent food to incorporate into your diet if you are trying to lose or maintain your current weight. Not only are they fat-free and low in calories but they are high in pectin, a dietary fiber that slows down the intestinal absorption and digestion of food which can help increase your sense of fullness after eating.

Another benefit of citrus fruits is that they are natural diuretics, especially lemons. To help combat bloating, add half of a lemon to a large glass or bottle of water first thing in the morning.

Consuming citrus fruits first thing in the morning or anytime of day is a great caffeine and sugar free way to boost your energy.

Whether you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, citrus fruits can be beneficial to both you and your partner. For men, vitamin C is said to help improve sperm count, sperm motility and sperm morphology. For women, citrus fruits are important because they are a natural source of folate, which is essential in reducing the risk of severe birth defects. Of course, for pregnancy, natural sources of folate (citrus fruits, broccoli, etc...) should always be combined with a pre-natal that contains folic acid.

Many, many years ago my mother phoned from the grocery store to ask my brother and I what we wanted for a treat - my brother said pineapple and I asked for a lemon. Perhaps she was just speechless, but she didn't question our requests and that evening, my brother enjoyed several slices of pineapple and I ate an entire lemon. Based on the citrus platter I had the other night, it should come as no surprise that to this day, I am still happy to sit down and eat a lemon. It reminds me of sour candy, and based on the "you'll rot your teeth out" criticism I have received for indulging in citrus fruits, you'd think it was candy. I've also been given some pretty terrible advice about caring for my teeth after eating citrus fruits and that was, "Be sure to brush your teeth right away!" If this is something you are in the habit of doing, STOP. Regardless of what you eat, you should wait at least thirty minutes before you brush your teeth.

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