Posts Tagged ‘health benefits of citrus’

The amazing health benefits of grapefruit

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Merely hearing the name of this juicy fruit, or seeing it in the produce aisle, can make our palates cringe and our face scrunch up. Although the slightly bitter and sour grapefruit may not cater to some taste buds, its red, pink, and white pulp varieties are loaded with vitamins and minerals, which add on to its touted health benefits. The moon-shaped fruit is not only rich in vitamin C, but it also provides us with unexpected benefits — from our immune system to our metabolism.

Lauren Blake, a registered dietician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, believes we should opt for the pink- and red-colored varieties to reap the most benefits of this cancer-fighting fruit. “Pink and red colored grapefruit contain the antioxidant lycopene,” Blake told Medical Daily in an email. “Lycopene appears to have propertied that help fight free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells.” Add this low-calorie fruit to your diet today to uncover the great benefits of grapefruit for your health.

1. Strengthens Immune System

It is well known any fruit rich in vitamin C will strengthen and support our immune system. Vitamin C works with other micronutrients that provide good and regular nourishment for the body. Micronutrient deficiencies of vitamins A, B6, C, and E have been found to alter immune responses in animals and are thought to have a similar effect on the human immune response.

Maintaining good levels of vitamin C in the body can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine. This makes it helpful in controlling allergies, since it reduces histamine levels. “Grapefruit is abundant in vitamin C which help supports the immune system,” Blake said. “Half of a grapefruit provides about 78 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.”

2. Boosts Metabolism

Grapefruit is a popular diet staple among those looking to lose weight. A high metabolism can continue to burn fat in the body even when it is resting. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found people who ate half a grapefruit before each meal, without making any other dietary changes, lost an average of 3 and a half pounds over 12 weeks.

The copious amount of enzymes, high-water content, and less sodium helps burn fat easily. Blake said: “While grapefruit does not have any magical fat-burning properties, it is low in calories and is a good source of fiber, which helps keep us full for longer by taking longer to digest. … Grapefruit also has a high water content which can help you feel full and stay hydrated.”

3. Reduces Kidney Stones Risk

Naringenin — known for its bitter taste of grapefruit — has been found to successfully prevent the formation of kidney cysts. According to a report by AlphaGalileo.org, the naturally occurring compound regulates the PKD2 protein that is responsible for the condition. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects not only help prevent the formation of cysts, but also reduce swelling in the kidneys that is caused by fluid retention. Drinking up to a liter of grapefruit juice daily will help reap the greatest benefits in effectively blocking the formation of kidney cysts.

4. Fights Gum Disease

Simply eating two grapefruits a day can prevent and even reverse damage caused by gum disease. A 2005 study published in the British Dental Journal found the daily consumption of grapefruit can reduce gum bleeding for those who suffer from gum disease. The participants in the study also showed an increase in their vitamin C levels, which aids in the repair of gums. Vitamin C, according to Blake, is essential for healthy gums, which helps keep our teeth firmly in place.

5. Protects Against Cancer

The antioxidant vitamin C has been linked to decrease the risk of certain cancers. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found grapefruits help repair damaged DNA in human prostate cancer cells. Naringenin stimulates DNA repair in these cancer cells and protects the body from developing cancer.

“Diets high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables such as grapefruit, had been linked to a reduced risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, bladder, breast, and esophagus,” said Blake. She cautions these results are specific to vitamin C rich foods, rather than supplements.

6. Reduces Stress

You don’t necessarily have to ingest grapefruit to reap its benefits. The smell of citrus fruit can make a difference on curbing our stress and anxiety levels, and depression. A 1995 study published in the Japanese Journal of Psychopharmacology found citrus fragrance restored stress-induced immunosuppression, and induced calm behavior in mice.

Reap the benefits of grapefruit by adding it — and grapefruit juice –  to your diet.

Source: MedicalDaily.com

Study shows grapefruits tackle diabetes as well as leading drug

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Scientists have found that the popular breakfast fruit works just as well as the common diabetes pill metformin in lowering harmful blood sugars.The breakthrough discovery could be a simple way to get Britain’s soaring diabetes and obesity crises under control.

US researchers have found that the so-called “grapefruit diet” which was popular in the Seventies and Eighties as the latest “Hollywood” diet secret followed by the likes of actress Brooke Shields may in fact have some scientific basis.

The team, from the University of California, Berkeley, gave one group of mice an antioxidant called naringin, a bioactive compound in grapefruit juice that has been identified as a key agent in weight loss.

They gave another group metformin, the most common glucose-lowering drug prescribed for patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The mice were fed a diet that was either 60 per cent fat or 10 per cent fat for 100 days, and their metabolic health was monitored throughout the study.

Researcher Professor Joseph Napoli said: “The grapefruit juice lowered blood glucose to the same degree as metformin.

“That means a natural fruit drink lowered glucose levels as effectively as a prescription drug.”

The group of high-fat-diet mice that received naringin had lower blood glucose levels than the control group, but there was no effect on weight, suggesting that some other ingredient in grapefruit juice is also beneficial.

The study did not find as big an impact on mice that ate a low-fat diet.

The researchers also randomly divided mice into six groups, including a control group that drank only water.

Those drinking grapefruit juice got a mixture diluted with water at different concentrations, and sweetened slightly with saccharin to counteract grapefruit’s bitterness.

The researchers also added glucose and artificial sweeteners to the control group’s water so that it would match the calorie and saccharin content of the grapefruit juice.

At the end of the study period, the mice that ate the high-fat diet and drank diluted grapefruit juice not only gained less weight than their control counterparts, they also had a 13 to 17 per cent decrease in blood glucose levels and a three-fold decrease in insulin levels, which reveals greater sensitivity to insulin.

In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes extra insulin to compensate for increased resistance to the hormone.Those that drank the grapefruit juice saw a two-fold decrease in insulin levels, but there was no significant change in weight or other metabolic factors.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, also found that mice fed a high-fat diet gained 18 per cent less weight when they drank clarified, no-pulp grapefruit juice compared with a control group of mice that drank water.

Juice-drinking mice also showed improved levels of glucose, insulin and a type of fat called triacylglycerol compared with their water-drinking counterparts.

Prof Napolli added: “We see all sorts of scams about nutrition. But these results, based on controlled experiments, warrant further study of the potential health-promoting properties of grapefruit juice.”

Previous research has hailed the benefits of grapefruit for beating diabetes.

One study by experts in Jerusalem and Boston found that naringenin helps the liver to burn fat instead of storing it after eating while increasing the production of insulin.

This mimics the process in long periods of fasting where fatty acids are broken down instead of carbohydrates.

Naringenin gives citrus fruits – in particular grapefruit – a bitter taste.

Source: Express

The health benefits of citrus

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Loaded with vitamins and minerals.

The vitamin C in citrus fruits acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of non-heme iron (iron from plant foods like beans and nuts). Citrus fruits supply the B vitamin, folate, which plays a role in energy production, growth and development, and may help protect against heart disease. These fruits are also a source of potassium, which is important for muscle function, and fluid and electrolyte balance.

Unique phytonutrients.

Citrus flavanones have been linked to a reduced risk of stroke in women and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Liminoids in citrus fruits have been found to inhibit tumor growth. More research is needed to understand how these phytonutrients work to improve health and protect against disease. Many are found in the peel and inner white portions of the fruit, so eating whole fruits and using zest and peels as flavorings for cooking will help you get the most benefit.

Super easy snack.

There are few foods easier to grab on the go than a piece of citrus fruit. Oranges, mandarins, tangerines, and many cross-varieties are easy to pack, peel, and section for a snack. Peeling also slows you down and contributes to more mindful eating. Just remember that some citrus, such as grapefruit, can interact with prescription medications. Be sure to check with your doctor if you take medications, especially those to fight infections or treat high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or heart conditions.

Multiple uses.

Not only is citrus delicious by itself, but the whole fruit can be used in many meals and snacks. Homemade juices are more refreshing with fresh oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and lime. Fruit sections can be blended into smoothies. Lean meats and roasted vegetables are delicious with a splash of fresh juice and citrus zest. Dry the peels of oranges, lemons, or tangerines and add it to loose leaf tea before steeping.

Long storage.

Unlike many fruits that spoil quickly, citrus fruits have a long storage life so you can stock up when they are on sale and enjoy them throughout the season. When refrigerated, oranges and mandarins stay fresh about two weeks, lemons keep for four weeks or more, and grapefruits and limes keep even longer, often five to six weeks.

 

Source: MyFoodDiary.org