It must be nature’s way of giving us a sunny outlook – with winter in full force, we’re given a bounty of citrus this time of year. These antioxidant-loaded gems are in peak season right now, and with myriad health benefits, there’s no time like the present to indulge in citrus. Consider these 5 benefits of including more citrus in your diet:
Reduced Risk of Stroke. A study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke followed around 70,000 women for 14 years, tracking their flavanone consumption – a form of antioxidant flavonoids found in oranges, grapefruits, and their juices. Those who consumed the most had a nearly 20% reduced risk of developing blood clot-related stroke compared with the group who ate the least.
Cancer Prevention. Limonoids, which are specialized antioxidants present in most citrus fruits, hold promise in protecting against colon, lung, breast, skin, and stomach cancer. In addition, a 2012 Japanese study showed that beta cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, present in the pulp and juice of Satsuma mandarins, inhibited tumor growth in tongue, lung, and colon tissues.
Vision Preservation. Citrus is known as a Vitamin C powerhouse, and it turns out that the nerve cells in our eyes’ retinas need this nutrient to perform optimally. One orange contains 93% of the recommended daily allowance, while a whole pink grapefruit delivers 102%.
Weight Control. Nobiletin, a flavonoid found in tangerines, may protect against obesity and even type 2 diabetes. It’s also packed with fiber and water, making you feel fuller and satisfied longer. One study gave grapefruit a decided edge in weight loss success – during a 12-week period, grapefruit eaters lost 3.5 pounds to the apple juice drinkers’ half pound average.
Heart Health. Hesperidin (antioxidant flavonoids) from citrus is known to boost good HDL cholesterol while lowering bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides – which can help reduce risk of heart attack.
What’s the best way to enjoy citrus right now? We think peak citrus is best enjoyed freshly peeled and eaten out of hand. But don’t stop there – add citrus juice to your favorite dressings and marinades, toss segments in your favorite green salad, or try it in a smoothie, zest and all. Get creative with citrus this season and watch the health benefits add up!
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