About the benefits of citrus fruits: not only vitamin C

In addition to being delicious, citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants.

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of citrus fruits is the fact that they are a great source of vitamin C. However, orange is not at the top of the list of fruits rich in vitamin C. Guava, kiwi and strawberries contain much more of this vitamin. .

Vitamin C is one of the most famous antioxidants that prevent the development of cardiovascular and oncological diseases in the body. It also protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation and blocks the formation of nitrosamines, dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, vitamin C enhances cell immunity.

Autumn and winter are seasons when the flu is rampant. The question arises: can citrus fruits help in protecting against viral infections and colds? For prevention, many people take ascorbic acid. While vitamin C does not prevent colds, it does help relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of illnesses. Vitamin C is effective in amounts up to 250 mg per day. There is no point in increasing the dose.

Oranges, in addition to containing vitamin C, are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin B1, as well as folic acid and potassium. Pectin, a fiber present in citrus fruits, significantly lowers blood cholesterol levels. Folic acid, in addition to protecting against neural tube defects, has antioxidant properties. A diet rich in folic acid can reduce the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, neck, etc. A lack of folate leads to a decrease in the formation of white blood cells and a reduction in their lifespan. One serving of orange juice (about 200 g) contains 100 micrograms of folic acid. Other great sources of folic acid are fresh leafy vegetables, oatmeal, and beans. Potassium prevents the increase in blood pressure associated with excess sodium. Also, orange juice replenishes the loss of electrolytes in children suffering from diarrhea.

In addition to the aforementioned vitamins and minerals, citrus fruits contain many active health-protecting phytochemicals. So, oranges contain more than 170 phytochemicals. Among them are carotenoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, limonoids, glucaric acid.

Citrus fruits contain over 60 flavonoids. The properties of flavonoids are numerous: anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory. In addition, flavonoids may inhibit platelet aggregation and thereby reduce the risk of coronary artery thrombosis. The flavonol quercetin has a more powerful antioxidant effect than beta-carotene and vitamin E. The flavonoids tangeretin and nobiletin are effective inhibitors of tumor cell growth and are able to activate the detoxifying system of glycogen phosphorylase. Tangeretin is able to block the damage of healthy tissues by aggressive tumor cells.

Citrus fruits contain about 38 limonoids, the main ones being limonin and nomilin. The complex triterpinoid compounds are partly responsible for the bitter taste of citrus fruits. They are found in high concentrations in grapefruit and orange juice. Limonoids also have the ability to inhibit tumor growth by stimulating the central detoxifying enzyme, glutathione-S-transferase.

Orange and lemon oils are high in limonene, a terpinoid that also has anti-cancer effects. Both the pulp of citrus fruits and albedo (the soft whitish subcutaneous layer in citrus fruits) are rich in useful substances, the so-called. glucarates. Recently, these substances have been actively studied, because they have the potential to protect against malignant neoplasms in the breast and reduce the severity of PMS. In addition, glucarates have the ability to modify estrogen metabolism.

Oranges contain over 20 carotenoids. Red-fleshed grapefruits are rich in beta-carotene. However, tangerines, oranges, and other citrus fruits contain large amounts of other carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cripoxanthin) that have powerful antioxidant effects and help counter age-related macular degeneration; it is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 years of age. Pink grapefruit is also high in lycopene, a red pigment found in tomatoes and guava. Lycopene has a powerful anti-cancer effect.

In general, it is recommended to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, especially green and yellow vegetables and citrus fruits.

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