They’re a popular dietary choice for a number of reasons. Top of the list for most people would be simply the fact that they taste good and they make a great addition to any meal or the perfect snack. But there are plenty more good reasons to eat citrus fruits.
Citrus fruits as a group are one the most beneficial, nutritious types of food available. They contain a large range of vitamins and minerals and plenty of all-important dietary fibre. In fact citrus fruit are a prime example of why eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a far better way to get essential vitamins and minerals than by taking supplements.
Pills No Substitute For The Real McCoy
Whilst many of the primary vitamins and nutrients in citrus fruit have been copied to use in pharmaceutical vitamin and mineral supplements, citrus fruit also contain a wide range of other beneficial trace elements that have not all been identified, much less synthesized. Therefore, the only way to get these additional nutrients is by eating the fruit. It’s a scenario that is repeated time and again across many food groups. Fruit and vegetables contain far far more micro and macro nutrients than science has identified or copied. A bottle of pills is not an adequate substitute for a bowl of fresh fruit or a plate of fresh vegetables.
Citrus Contain Plenty Of Vitamin C
The most important nutrient in citrus fruit is vitamin C. Vitamin C is an anti oxidant and plays an important role in helping our immune system ward off disease and infection. It helps reduce the damage to our cells caused by free radicals as well. Vitamin C is required in our daily diet as it can’t be stored in the body and any excess is simply removed. However, if you’re eating enough citrus fruit it’s very easy to get enough Vitamin C without resorting to supplements. One orange for example contains more than the daily recommended allowance.
Citrus fruit also contains plenty of dietary fibre. Dietary fibre is an essential part of a good diet because it assists with the removal of toxic waste materials from the body. Fibre is also believed to help protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer as well as lower cholesterol levels.
Citrus An Important Source Of Folic Acid
Another thing citrus fruit have is folic acid. Folic acid or Vitamin B9, is one of the B group vitamins. Like Vitamin C, the B group vitamins are water soluble so need to be included in the daily diet. Folic acid helps prevent neural cord birth defects like spina bifida if it’s taken early in the pregnancy. Many foods are now fortified with Folic acid because it’s such a valuable vitamin. However, the best source still remains those foods it occurs naturally in and citrus fruit are particularly high in folic acid.
Potassium – Not Just Found In Bananas
Potassium is another mineral that is vital for good health. Potassium helps to maintain correct body fluid levels and affects the uptake of other minerals and nutrients. Unfortunately many of the ‘ills’ of modern society affect our potassium levels. Things like caffeine, alcohol and stress can all affect our potassium levels so it’s important to ensure that we get enough potassium in our daily diet. Whilst bananas are probably the best known source of dietary potassium, citrus fruit is another excellent source.
If you’re looking for a good all-round source of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fibre you can’t go past citrus fruit. They’re also deliciously easy to eat either on their own or in fruit salads. They can be eaten at any time of the day, whether it’s a grapefruit for breakfast, an orange snack during the day, or a mandarin or two in a fruit salad for dinner. The article The Value of Citrus Fruit was written by David Cross.