Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits: Oranges, Grapefruits, Lemons and Limes

Citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Citrus fruits are not only loaded with vitamin C, they also strengthen your immune system.


Oranges are a citrus fruit in the family Rutaceae and originated in Southeastern Asia. There are many different varieties of oranges; Valencia, Persian, Naval, Jaffa and Blood. Oranges are classified into two categories, bitter and sweet, with sweet being the most popularly consumed. The fruit was first cultivated in the Middle East in the 9th century and was introduced into Europe by the 15th century by the Moors, Portuguese and Italians.

Health Benefits of Oranges

Research studies have proven that oranges have phytonutrients such as citrus flavanones, polyphenols, anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acids which are beneficial to the health of the human body. The fruit contains herperidin which studies have proven contain anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce symptoms of hypertension.

The vitamin C content found in oranges provides antioxidant protection against cancer-causing free radicals and helps to boost immune system function. Vitamin C can also reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. The vitamin C in oranges can also reduce the risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke.

A single orange contains more than 60 flavanois and 170 different phytonutrients which possess blood clot inhibiting abilities, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor qualities. Oranges also contain the polyphenol gallic acid which provides anti-allergy, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties and researchers have began to study the role the fruit could play in brain functioning.

Oranges contain substances called limonoids which are proven to fight cancer of the skin, mouth, lungs, breast, colon and stomach. Because limonoid is so readily available and ever-present, oranges act as a natural antioxidant by helping prevent free radicals from damaging the DNA of cells and causing cancer. In a research study, 16 volunteer subjects received one dose of limonin glucoside in a glass of orange juice. Upon conclusion of the study, researchers determined the limonin in oranges lasted for a longer time period than the phenols in chocolate and green tea, which means the fruit, is one of the best sources of cancer protection available.

Oranges contain many different minerals, vitamins and nutrients which can be beneficial for the daily diet of human beings. The fruit is currently the focus of intensive medical and research studies to better understand everything oranges have to offer the human body in terms of health and well being.

Grapefruits and their health benefits


Grapefruits come from a subtropical citrus tree and were first cultivated in the 18th century in Jamaica. The fruit did not become popular worldwide until the late 19th century, prior to that time the fruit was grown strictly for ornamental purposes. The United States became a major grapefruit

cultivating nation and orchards can be found in California, Arizona, Florida and Texas.

Health Benefits of Grapefruits

Grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamin C which is important to the health of the immune system. The vitamin C content in grapefruit helps shorten the duration of the common cold and lessens the severity of symptoms as well. Vitamin C also helps prevent the damages of cancer-causing free radicals and can reduce the severity of inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Regular consumption of vitamin C rich foods like grapefruits can also reduce the risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer.
Grapefruits are rich in lycopene, a powerful carotenoid phytonutrient that has anti-tumor qualities. Lycopene has the highest capacity of any phytonutrient, to help the body fight off the damages from cancer-causing free radicals and can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in males. In a research study involving 130 prostate cancer patients, men who consumed green tea and lycopene-rich foods reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 86%.
Different fruits contain different properties, grapefruit juice ranked the as one of the highest for phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity. Antioxidants neutralize the unpaired electrons found in free radicals which render the molecule harmless. The antioxidants found in grapefruits stop the chain reaction of free radical development and benefit the body by boosting the immune system.
The pectin found in grapefruits can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis and reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. In a research study conducted by Israeli researchers from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, red and blond grapefruits were tested for antioxidant properties for aiding in the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Test tube results of the study showed that red grapefruits contain more total phenols and bioactive substances than blond and lowers LDL cholesterol within 30 days. Grapefruits contain many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients which can be a beneficial addition to the daily diet. The fruit is currently being studied by scientists and researchers to provide a better understanding of everything grapefruits have to offer in terms of human health.

Lemons and their health benefits

Lemons are a citrus fruit used for culinary and non-culinary purposed all over the world. The fruit is mainly used for juice content, though the zest (rind) and pulp are also used in various recipes for cooking and baking. The juice of a lemon is approximately 5% citric acid, which is what provides the

fruit with a tart flavor. The exact origins of lemons remains a mystery, though experts believe the fruit was first grown in India, China and north Burma.

Health Benefits of Lemons

Lemons are an excellent source of citric acid and contain many flavonoids, antioxidants and cancer-preventing compounds. The flavonoids found in lemons stop cancer cell division and have antibiotic properties. In several West African villages during cholera outbreaks, it is common to consume citric acid with the main meal of the day to provide protection against new contractions of the disease.
The vitamin C content of lemons contains many unique phytonutrients which are important natural antioxidants. Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant and protects the body from the damages of cancer causing free radicals. Other benefits of vitamin C include protecting the health of cells in the body, reducing inflammation, and preventing the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetic heart disease.
Lemons are a natural diuretic and can help reduce swelling, inflammation and edema. The fruit is ideal for people suffering from urinary tract infections and high acid content in the urine and helps flush harmful bacteria out of the body. In other countries it is common to mix lemon juice with coffee to treat cases of malaria and the mixture is also effective for relieving headache pain.
The oil of lemons can also be very beneficial for astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal and calming properties. Lemon oil can be used to treat stress, infections, asthma, insomnia, skin and hair inflammation, stomach problems and infections. The oil in lemons is also high in vitamins and can help increase the function of the immune system in response to the flu virus and common cold.
When mixed with hot water, lemons can help relieve cases of acid indigestion and stomach ache. Due to digestive qualities found in lemon juice, when mixed with water it can alleviate heartburn, nausea and kills parasites. Other ways to use lemon juice include as a facial astringent, scalp treatment for dandruff, as a gargle for throat inflammation and as a dental rinse to remove excess plaque on the teeth and whitens tooth enamel.
Lemons contain many nutrients, vitamins and minerals which have proven to be good for overall health and wellbeing. Medical researchers and scientists are currently focusing on lemons to provide a better understanding of how the fruit can benefit the human body.

Limes and their health benefits

The term lime refers to a number of different fruits in the citrus family, and originated in the Himalayan region. Limes are typically round and green, 3-6 centimeters in diameter and have a tart and sour taste. The fruit is generally used to accent flavors in culinary recipes, beverages, juices, perfumes, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Health Benefits of Limes

The dietary fiber content of limes is good for the prevention of chronic constipation. Dietary fiber lowers the risk of digestive complications. A diet high in fiber can lower the risk of a person developing hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Fiber in limes can also lower total blood cholesterol levels by reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol content in the blood. Fiber can also help slow the body’s absorption of sugar which can help improve blood sugar levels in people suffering from type II diabetes.
The vitamin K found in limes is essential to the body for healthy blood clotting. Three proteins which are dependent on vitamin K are isolated in the bone and prevent calcification of soft cartilage and facilitate healthy bone growth and development. Vitamin K is also important for cell adhesion and proliferation, prevents apoptosis and regulates platelet signaling and vascular balance. The vitamin K content in limes also reduces the risk of age-related osteoporosis, bone fractures, vascular calcification and cardiovascular disease.
Limes also contain folate which is a water-soluble vitamin which helps in the formation of red blood cells and genetic cellular material. Folate also plays a vital role in reducing homosyteine levels in the blood, protein metabolism, cell growth and division and prevents neural tube defects within the first trimester of pregnancy.
The copper content in limes is one of the most important metallic elements and is essential to the health of humans. Copper combines with fatty and amino acids and vitamins that are necessary for the function of several metabolic processes in the body. Copper is also a powerful antioxidant which helps protect the cells and tissues of the body from cancer causing free radicals and is responsible for tissue pigment. Limes contain many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients which can be a beneficial addition to a healthy diet. Medical researchers and scientists are currently focusing on limes to provide a better understanding of everything the fruit has to offer the human body in terms of health and well being.

Article Source: Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits, Written by TANYAT in Health Living and published in