Citrus fruits, like orange, tangerine, pineapple and lemon, are among the most consumed in our tropical lands and this could not be more positive for our health. These vegetables are rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient to prevent colds and flu. But not just that. The fruits that are part of the citrus genus are also allies of our skin, hair, heart and much more. Discover all the health benefits of these foods.
What are the nutrients of citrus fruits?
It is not just vitamin C that makes these fruits powerful agents for maintaining our health. They are also rich in citric acid, potassium, vitamin A and flavonoids (important for reducing lipids) and antioxidant agents that strengthen the immune system. Because they are rich in water, these fruits still help in hydrating the body.
Peels and bagasse are still sources of fibre, essential for the proper functioning of the intestine and for the reduction of bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Other examples of citrus fruits are lime, strawberry, acerola and kiwi.
Why is it important to consume citrus fruits during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
In these phases, the woman needs a greater amount of vitamin C (85 mg per day during pregnancy and 120 mg during breastfeeding). A 100g serving of citrus fruits ensures the daily supply of the vitamin.
However, lactating women need to be aware. This is because the fibres present in these fruits can cause abdominal discomfort in the baby. If this happens, it is better to consult the doctor or nutritionist and invest in the consumption of other sources of this vitamin, such as carrots.
What are the benefits of these fruits for the skin?
Antioxidants play an important role in skin health. That’s because they remove dead cells and prevent premature ageing. Thus, the appearance of wrinkles, expression marks, sagging and blemishes is delayed. These fruits still help the nails, as vitamin C strengthens them and makes them grow healthier and faster.
How to use these fruits for homemade beauty treatments?
The skin does not only benefit from eating citrus fruits. It is also worth making homemade mixes that are super-efficient, even with normally discarded parts of these foods. You can, for example, use the shells. To do this, dry them well and pass them in a grinder. Use this powder as a body scrub or even add milk and apply it on your face to ensure more shine.
If you have a history of hypersensitivity or skin allergy, consult a dermatologist before applying our homemade suggestions.
Check out another recipe for the face mask to avoid dryness.
- 5 tablespoons
- 5 tablespoons of orange blossom honey
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tangerine
Extract the juice from the tangerine and mix with honey and olive oil. Apply on the face and massage gently with circular movements. Leave on for ten minutes and wash well afterwards. Repeat the procedure twice a week.
Hair can also benefit from using these vegetables. To do this, squeeze two oranges and mix with two mashed bananas. Add five tablespoons of heated honey. Apply the mask to damp hair and let it act for two hours. Then wash the threads as normal.
If you suffer from dandruff, lemon can be a great ally in this fight. To do this, just squeeze the lemon juice into a glass of water and apply to the scalp. Rub well and leave on for 30 minutes. This will activate blood circulation in that region.
Attention: do not expose yourself to the sun while using these products, to avoid burns. Always rinse thoroughly before going outdoors.
Do citrus fruits prevent heart disease?
Yes. To start with, these fruits are rich in citric acid, which improves blood viscosity, which reduces the chances of a heart attack. In addition, they are also sources of folic acid, which decreases the amount of a substance called homocysteine, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in high doses.
Citrus fruits also help lower bad cholesterol levels and eliminate excess calcium in arteries and pancreas, which avoids the risk of kidney stones.
Do citrus fruits help in the treatment of sore throat?
Vitamin C and antioxidants are essential for strengthening the immune system. This makes our body more resistant to colds and flu and, therefore, these fruits should be used as preventives. However, they can also be used to relieve symptoms. A cup of lemon tea is good to help.
Is it true that these fruits are good for digestion?
Yes. It’s not just because of the flavour that orange is the perfect accompaniment to feijoada and pineapple goes so well with barbecue. This is also because citrus fruits help with digestion and avoid that feeling of heavy stomach and nausea after a fatty meal.
Why do they help with weight loss?
In addition to all the benefits mentioned, citrus fruits also help with weight loss, since they are rich in fibres that promote satiety and reduce the absorption of fats. This is because the soluble fibres cause the sugar to be absorbed more slowly. This is also an advantage for those who have diabetes.
How to consume citrus fruits?
As vitamin C loses its properties at high temperatures, it is always recommended to consume these raw fruits. Therefore, recipes for pies and cakes with these ingredients do not contain this vitamin. When preparing juices, place in the refrigerator with a lid, to also avoid the loss of nutrients.
When it comes to lemon, a good tip is to prepare juices and other recipes with its peel, which concentrates a substance called limonene. It has a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. In the case of orange, the tip is always to consume it with bagasse, including the white part, where there is a higher concentration of fibres. The same goes for tangerine (also known as mandarin or bergamot).
Citrus fruits are still good ingredients for preparing salad dressings, desserts, meat seasonings, garnishes and drinks.
And don’t forget: always avoid handling and consuming these fruits while you are exposed to the sun, as this can cause burns and skin blemishes.