6 health benefits of citrus fruits

Not only are they zesty, juicy and delicious, but citrus fruits are also loaded with healthy goodness

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tangerine flat stomach

Fight weight gain

A 2011 study from Western University in London, Ont., shows that nobiletin, a flavonoid that is extracted from tangerines, helps to prevent obesity and offers protection against type 2 diabetes. The study looked at mice that were fed a diet high in fat and simple sugars. One group became obese and developed the metabolic signs that increase type 2 diabetes risk. 

A second group, fed the same diet but with added nobiletin, gained weight normally and showed no changes in their glucose or insulin levels.

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Vitamin C grapefruit

Lower your stroke risk

A study published in 2012 in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke evaluated the eating habits of almost 70,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study over 14 years of followup. It showed that women who ate the most flavanone-mainly via oranges, grapefruits and their juices-had a 19 percent lower risk of blood-­clot-­related stroke than those who ate the least amount.

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orange juice

Help prevent cancer

In research published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology in 2012, Japanese scientists used animal studies to determine if the pulp and juice from the satsuma mandarin (a common seedless variety of mandarin orange) hindered cancer development. They showed that beta­cryptoxanthin and hesperidin present in these mandarins inhibited tumour growth in tongue, colon and lung tissues.

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Vitamin C orange grapefruit juice citrus

See better with C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits damage to the body by free radicals and prevents scurvy. Recently, scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University showed that our eyes' retinas require vitamin C for their nerve cells to function properly and therefore maintain better eyesight. To meet your daily needs: A lemon with peel provides 111 percent two clementines, 96 percent;  a medium orange, 93 percent; and half a pink or red grapefruit, 51 percent.

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woman taking vitamins pills

Lower dosage of certain drugs

A 2012 clinical trial at the University of Chicago showed that having a glass of grapefruit juice daily while taking the anti­cancer drug sirolimus provides three times the drug's benefit, since the juice slows metabolism of the drug. This means patients may be able to take lower doses of that drug, reducing side effects and costs (dosage is still being studied). Please note: Grapefruit and some other citrus fruit interact negatively with a number of drugs; if you love them, check with your doctor or pharmacist before having them with your meds.

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lemon

Reduce stress

Japanese research showed that linalool, an aromatic compound found in lemons (as well as mangoes, lavender and other fragrant plants), altered blood chemistry and gene activity to reduce stress levels in rats exposed to challenging conditions. Inhaling linalool lowered the activity of more than 100 genes that usually rev up in stressful situations.

Related:
5 immune-boosting citrus recipes
15 foods rich in vitamin C
Foods that fight colon cancer