Benefits of Citrus Fruit, Much More Than Vitamin C


Citrus trees are quite amazing in that they can produce large bright-colored juicy sweet fruits in the peak of winter.

Citrus types like oranges can likewise be a reviving treat in these colder months when many people crave their immune-nourishing nutrients.

Of course, one of the most famous nutritional benefits of citrus fruit is that all are very high in VITAMIN C, but there are other amazing aspects about citrus you may be less familiar with.



One of the great benefits of citrus fruit is that they contain powerful essential oils and acids like CITRIC ACID helpful for breaking up phlegm and are cleansing to the body as a mucus dissolver.

That's another reason why they're often the first dietary household go-to at the onset of a cold or flu when congestion is an issue.

Interestingly, citrus fruit peels are frequently utilized in commercial cleaning products and degreasers for their ability to dissolve stains and oils.

Citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes, are likewise a dietary measure to protect against certain types of kidney stones. This is due to the compound called HYDROXYCITRATE, a derivative of citric acid researched for its stone-dissolving capability.

In one study on rats, citric acid-derived hydroxycitrate was used to prevent or inhibit calcium oxalate crystallization.

Fresh lime or lemon juice mixed into water is often recommended as a maintenance protocol which can gently cleanse the kidneys and help to flush out impurities.

(Keep in mind, however, to always consult a health professional or seek medical treatment for kidney stones in mild to severe cases.)


The SOUR TASTE in many traditions like Ayurveda is valued for its benefits as a digestive aid.

This is because the sour quality of citrus, along with its bitter pith, acts as a CHOLAGOGUE, encouraging the healthy flow of bile and supports liver function.

Sour foods are promoted for Vata body types or dry conditions like constipation.

Lime or lemons can be squeezed into hot water for a helpful morning drink to get things moving.

Likewise eating sour citrus fruit helps to increase saliva, enhance digestive enzyme secretion, move liver stagnation as well as stimulates the metabolism of fats or proteins, reducing their chances of fermentation in the gut.

Citrus and its aromatic uplifting scent is filled with essential oils such as LIMONENE, which act as useful ANTIMICROBIAL agents to help keep harmful pathogens at bay.



Compared to other fruit, citrus is one of the top food sources of BIOFLAVONOIDS, also called flavonoids. About 95% of all flavonoids in citrus come from the class called FLAVANONES.

While there is variation depending on citrus species, the three most abundant types usually found are hesperidin, naringenin and eriocitrin but others may include narirutin, hesperetin and naringin.

These are natural compounds present to protect the fruit from oxidation. They are especially concentrated in the pith and rind but are also in the fruit pulp itself.

In humans, bioflavonoids exhibit similar pharmacological activity as potent polyphenolic ANTIOXIDANTS.

What is the Nutraceutical Value of Citrus Bioflavonoids?

Neuroprotective - Citrus flavonoids have been shown to provide a protective role in neuropathological conditions by inhibiting pro-oxidants and neurotoxins. This is believed to be due to the fruit’s antioxidant activities.

Immune Support - Not only do citrus fruits contain immune-benefiting vitamin C but in recent research, flavonoid compounds in citrus, like naringin, were identified to have potential immune support by regulating the expression of inflammatory cytokines.

Anti-Inflammatory - Other research on certain freshly squeezed juices, like orange and grapefruit juice, it was suggested that bioflavonoids, vitamin C and folate content likewise show promise for their anti-inflammatory immune-supporting potentials.

Lipid Metabolism - Citrus fruits flavonoid compounds also help the body to break down or metabolize lipids or triglycerides. (*)

Cardiovascular Health - There is also some evidence that including citrus fruits in the diet can be of benefit to the cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of related diseases.



Citrus contains FIBER with a higher ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber.

Citrus fruit pith and pulp membranes are a source of PECTIN, a soluble dietary fiber that can influence weight loss because it slows down gastric emptying and makes you feel full for a longer period of time.

In earlier research, a grapefruit pectin-supplemented diet was found to encourage a decrease in cholesterol levels which can likewise be beneficial for obesity.

Most commercial pectin powders are actually derived from either apple peels or citrus rind.

Other types of fiber in citrus, including pectin, act as prebiotics. Prebiotics help fuel the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can impact everything from inflammation to nutrient absorption and beyond.


Although all citrus fruits are sour in taste, not all are as sweet.

That’s why we place citrus in two predominant categories. Sweet citrus and Sour citrus.

SWEET - This would include citrus like oranges, grapefruits, pomelo, tangerines and mandarins.

SOUR - This would include citrus like lemons, limes and kumquats.

It goes without saying that your choice of citrus can be very subjective depending on your individual dietary objective.

Some people on a low-sugar regimen, like a keto or candida diet for example, may wish to use lemons and limes rather than oranges, which have a high sugar content.

Generally, we recommend consuming sweet citrus and its juice in moderation as they are concentrated in fructose and can also be too acidic for the body when ingested on a regular basis.


Citrus fruits likewise have a good number of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, including B vitamins, like folate, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper as well as of course ample amounts of vitamin C. (*)


Too much citrus fruit can cause dental cavities. It is best avoided if you have conditions like acid reflux. Grapefruit or juice can interact adversely with certain pharmaceuticals. Always consult your physician before adding citrus fruits to the diet if you are taking any over-the-counter and/or prescribed medications, if pregnant, nursing or if you have a serious medical condition.


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