Refreshing to the taste, citrus has long been hailed for being a great source of vitamin C, but there is more to citrus than meets the eye.
All About Citrus
In simple definition, citrus refers to a family of plants that produces citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. Typically, these fruits contain a high content of citric acid. In terms of appearance, these fruits are usually round or elongated and are filled with edible juicy, fleshy pulp that surrounds and protects the seeds. However, that is not the only ingredient that is used in dishes or for general consumption.
The zest, which can be found on the outermost layer of a citrus fruit, has been utilised in many desserts to stimulate the palate and give it an extra kick. Besides being key ingredients for a range of cuisines and desserts, citrus fruits provide a powerhouse of nutritional benefits that does wonders for your skin, body and your overall health.
Benefits For Your Skin
You might already be aware that most citrus fruits have vitamin C, which has regenerative properties. It restores collagen levels and maintains the skin’s structure, preventing premature aging. Vitamin C also works to clear clogged pores and dead skin cells, giving you radiant and glowing skin.
In addition to keeping your skin youthful, vitamin C reduces dark spots and pigmentation caused by sun damage. When your skin is exposed to UV rays for a prolonged period of time without proper protection, it damages your skin. Vitamin C works to prevent pigmentation and photo-damage caused by UV rays.
Photo-damage breaks down your skin’s structure and causes wrinkles, age spots and other changes to the skin. It has also been linked to skin cancer. Reach for a grapefruit if you want to restore and renew skin cells. Grapefruit is full of potassium, which helps to keep skin firm and supple, while also acting as a natural sunscreen to guard your skin against harmful UV rays.
Here’s another way you can keep your skin clear and blemish-free. Lemons have long been praised for their skin-lightening properties, but did you know that they are also great for digestion and for clearing out toxins in your body? Practise drinking hot water with the juice of half a lemon and a bit of honey or turmeric every morning, at least 30 minutes before your first meal. Doing this daily will keep your skin glowing and practically flawless. Keep in mind that lemon juice can erode your enamel if it sits in your mouth for too long. So take a swig of this concoction as fast as you can. You can add limes and grapefruits to your diet to heal your skin from the inside as well.
Apart from taking care of your skin, citrus is nature’s very own doctor. As an immune booster, vitamin C will fight infection and common colds, especially during the flu season. It will shorten the length of your cold symptoms by about a day, which is very helpful when you need to recover fast.
Citrus For Your Health
Besides expediting the road to recovery, citrus fruits are also high in fibre. They usually contain about two thirds of soluble fibre, which will help to lower cholesterol and even maintain a steady level of glucose in the body. You will also end up snacking less throughout the day if you reach for an orange, instead of a snack loaded with sugar or salt. This is largely because fibre-rich fruits and foods keep us feeling fuller for longer.
Need to trim down a little? Try eating a grapefruit for breakfast. Kickstart your metabolic rate with the humble grapefruit. High in enzymes, grapefruits can burn fat and keep you hydrated, due to the high water content it possesses.
Interestingly enough, citrus is also a good source of potassium. The mineral, which is commonly found in bananas, is responsible for specific body functions. It helps muscles contract and regulates blood pressure. Potassium also removes excessive sodium in the body, which will lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, citrus plays an important role in absorbing other nutrients. Iron, which is crucial for a strong immune system and the production of red blood cells, is one mineral that citrus absorbs into the body. Add more citrus in your diet if you are trying to reap the full benefits of certain food groups.
Afraid of taking in too much sugar? Fret not! The magic of citrus is that it has a low glycemic index. This essentially means that it will not lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels. The glucose present in these fruits is released into your bloodstream slowly, providing you with a steady amount of energy throughout the day.
If you are feeling a little down and under the weather, try aromatherapy. Citrus oils will not only work to effectively defuse stress, but will also elevate your current mood and encourage the mind and body to relax. To replicate a relaxing spa-like experience, try soaking your body in the bathtub with citrus bath salts and light some citrus-scented candles.
Reawaken Your Senses with Citrus
Harness the power of citrus today: Add it into your diet or even consume it every morning before starting the day to reap the full nutritional benefits of these fruits.