Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits and Juicing: Part 2
In part 1 I talked about health benefits like essential nutrients, energy and vitamin C in citrus fruits, but there’s much more we get from citrus fruits.
But first, how do you juice citrus fruits? Oranges for example, remove the rind (peel). I peel mine with a peeler I got from Amazon. It’s the OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler and it works great. Limes – if it’s organic, it’s okay to leave the rind on. Personally I peel mine. Lemons – same as limes. Grapefruit – peel’em. Tangerine – peel’em. What am I leaving out?
Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits: Folate, Potassium and Phytochemicals
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin essential for new cell production and growth. It helps in the production of DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) and mature red blood cells, which ultimately prevent anaemia. In the United States, the recommended daily intake of folate is 180 mcg for females and 200 mcg for males. Over the past decade, however, it has become clear that higher levels of folic, 400 mcg, are associated with the prevention of neural tube defects, a severe birth defect (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1992). A 225 ml glass of orange juice provides 75 mcg of folic acid (Whitney and Rolfes, 1999).
Potassium is an essential mineral that works to maintain the body’s water and acid balance. As an important electrolyte, it plays a role in transmitting nerve impulses to muscles, in muscle contraction and in the maintenance of normal blood pressure. The daily requirement of potassium is approximately 2 000 mg and, while frank deficiency of potassium is rare, there is some concern that a high sodium-to-potassium intake ratio may be a risk factor for chronic disease. Increased consumption of citrus fruits and juices is a good means of increasing potassium intake. One medium orange and one 225 ml glass of orange juice provide approximately 235 mg and 500 mg of potassium, respectively (Whitney and Rolfes, 1999).
These naturally occurring compounds found in plants have a wide range of physiological effects and may help to protect against various chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The wide variety and number of known phytochemicals continue to grow, as does understanding of their role and importance in the diet (Steinmetz and Potter, 1991). Several classes of phytochemicals, including monoterpenes, limonoids (triterpenes), flavanoids, carotenoids and hydroxycinnamic acid, have been isolated from citrus. The possible anticarcinogenic mechanisms of phytochemicals include their antioxidant capabilities, their effects on cell differentiation, an increased activity of the enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, an altered colonic milieu, and the blocking of nitrosamines. The regular intake of a varied mix of phytochemicals is only possible through the consumption of plant-based foods, such as citrus, as part of the normal diet.
Health Benefit of Citrus Fruits: Alkalizing
Have you heard of the health benefits of an alkalizing diet? If not, read up, because this is an important topic. I could write another entire article on this, but here are the basics.
Alot of foods we eat make the body more acidic. Meat for example is acidic, processed foods, processed cheese, breads, sugar, cereals and coffee are acidic. Your body functions better when it is slightly alkaline.
Alkalizing foods include fresh fruits and vegetables. It may seem odd that lemon is alkalizing since it tastes acidic, but it’s how your body processes the lemon. The end product after metabolizing make it alkaline. Lists of acidic and alkalizing foods are available on the Internet. One such list: Acid-Alkaline Food Chart.
Bottom line, citrus fruits are good for the body. Wheather you juice them or eat them, get your fresh citrus fruit regularly. It’ll do your body good.
Thank you again for reading and please let me know what you think of this article by commenting below.
Note: If you’re diabetic, have a serious medical condition or take medication please check with your healthcare professional. Oranges have a lot of sugar in the juice and grapefruit juice doesn’t mix with some medications. It only takes a phone call to check.
Sources for this article include:
Food, Nutrition and Agriculture