Functional Citrus Food

Functional citrus fruits help fight common diseases.

We all know that fruit is good for us. Citrus fruits have many healthy properties.

But if citrus fruits are so healthy, why do we discard the best bits?

A food study published in Preventative Medicine journal investigates the health benefits of functional citrus food. In “Functional benefits of citrus fruits in the management of diabetes,” the authors also consider other diseases. It summarizes benefits, and potential benefits, from citrus fruits, for:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrition and wellness

Though much of the report deals with animal research, there is ample evidence of human benefits from various citrus fruits:

citrus fruit extracts represent an excellent candidate for nutraceuticals and functional foods geared towards the management of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Don’t Waste Functional Citrus Food

This food study reveals an important message: many of the health benefits of citrus fruits are lost because nutrients are concentrated in the peel that is usually discarded.
Healthy Citrus Infographic

The total polyphenols in the peels of lemons, oranges and grapefruits are significantly higher than in the peeled fruits

Functional Citrus Food Benefits

Functional food describes properties, irrespective of taste, that provide health benefits. I have extracted the main benefits from this functional citrus food study, together with food sources. Some facts are also drawn from cited references. If you want a copy of the complete study, please let me know in the healthy eating forum, linked at the end of this review.

The study highlights 3 important nutrients that have shown health improvements:

Nutrient Source Benefits
PolyMethoxylated Flavones (PMFs) Nobiletin and Tangeretin Orange peel and tangerine peel Reduces hypertriglyceridemia and has anti-diabetic effects.
Naringenin Citrus fruits and tomato skin & paste (citrus are not the only fruit) Corrects problems linked to insulin resistance. Promising therapy for metabolic syndrome.
Hesperidin & Naringin Hesperidin is abundant in lemon, lime, mandarin and sweet orange. Naringin is mainly present in grapefruits and sour oranges Improves hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia

Functional Citrus Food Conclusions

The conclusions from this scientific research are:

  • Whole citrus fruit extracts may yield compounds that can fight diseases
  • New drinks might provide preventative benefits against many diseases
  • Selective breeding can promote more nutritious varieties

But outside the labs, what can we do? Obvious actions are to increase citrus consumption, and also develop recipes that use whole fruits, not just pulp and juice.

Please share your views about functional citrus food. It’s easy to ask questions and share opinions and experiences by starting a new healthy eating discussion.

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