Are Citrus Acids Healthy or Harmful?

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Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, mandarins and tangerines.

Readily available, these juicy staple foods are acidic by nature, which has lead to a common misconception that they are harmful.  But nothing could be further from the truth.

Citrus fruits are highly beneficial to your health and your ability to resist disease, due to their wide range of protective and healing benefits. 

Keep reading to find out why citrus fruits should be a vital everyday food in your diet for robust health and peak wellbeing. 

1. Immunity

Building strong immunity is more important than ever and one of the richest sources of immune-boosting nutrients are citrus fruits.

Citrus fruits are loaded vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory nutrient that helps to protect against congestion and bacterial and viral overwhelm. Oranges, for example, contain around 69 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is close to a full day’s recommended amount.  This means you can have a big impact on your immunity just by eating 1 orange per day.

If you have an active lifestyle, you may benefit even more from citrus fruits each day. Research shows that people under heavy physical stress cut their risk of catching a cold in half if they regularly eat a variety of citrus. 

Studies have also shown that regularly eating citrus can cut your risk of developing pneumonia by up to 80 percent. Elderly people that experience pneumonia or chronic bronchitis had fewer symptoms and recovered more easily by eating oranges. Oranges are great protectors against bruising, colds, flu, heart disease and strokes.  

2. Heart Health

Protecting your heart health is one of the most important things you can do, and citrus fruits are a vital food to support this.  Powerful heart benefits of citrus foods include:

  • Soluble fibres reduce bad cholesterol. High fat diets over time can lead to build up of cholesterol and clogged arteries, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. The alkaloid synephrine found in the orange peel can reduce the liver’s production of cholesterol, while grapefruit acts as an artery scrubber to remove built-up plaque from the artery walls, as well as strengthens blood vessels and capillaries. 
  • The folate in oranges neutralises homocysteine, which is a dangerous substance that increases clotting and can damage the lining of your blood vessels. One orange provides the plant source folate.
  • Potassium helps lower your risk for a stroke because it keeps your blood pressure under control. An orange contains 237mg of potassium.
  • Vitamin C has the power to lower your blood pressure, improve blood flow and shrink your risk of stroke. Because it’s an inhibitor, it decreases your cholesterol by preventing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol from becoming oxidised, which is more dangerous to your artery walls.

Protecting your heart health is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and wellness, and by eating citrus fruits regularly you can help do just that. 

3. Detoxifying and Healing

Despite their acidic nature, citrus fruits are actually alkalising for the body. 

Science has proven that disease cannot live in an alkaline-rich environment, which is why citrus is such a potent healing food.

Lemons are nature's potent detoxifier, beneficial for internal body cleansing, asthma, headaches, pneumonia and arthritis. Lemon juice is also a good general blood purifier, body purifier and a mild diuretic. 

Lemon juice also helps kill intestinal parasites such as round-worms and dissolves gallstones. The bioflavonoids in citrus fruits detox your system and can even lessen the cravings for drugs. Lemon juice is also beneficial for removing poisons in the form of old drug residues from the body. 

The vitamin C in oranges and other citrus fruits may help speed up the creation of new skin cells and the shedding of old ones, to heal wounds and cuts faster. 

4. Protective

The rich Vitamin C content in citrus fruit has been shown to protect against various cancers, such as bladder, lung, pancreas, stomach and throat.

Citrus, particularly oranges, are also big providers of the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, fiber, falconoid, folate and over 15,000 other nutrients that are all dedicated to protecting your health. 

Citrus fruits have over 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 known falconoids. These are shown to reduce inflammation, shrink tumours, inhibit blood clots, offer strong DNA protection and learning enhancement. 

Grapefruit can help protect you from cancer too: thanks to its significant stores of the bioflavonoid naringenin, grapefruit arrests the spreading of breast cancer cells and prevents the metastasis of melanoma. 

Interestingly also, all citrus fruit have a signature pattern that resembles the anatomical structure of the female breast, mammary tissue.  In other words, one of the features of citrus fruits that mother nature provides by ingenious design, is nutrition for female breast health

Learn more in Top Cancer-Fighting Foods & Lifestyle Practices. 

5. Digestion

Digestive health is incredibly important. After all, it’s how your body processes and absorbs nutrients, expels toxins from the body and cultivates the bacteria required for a healthy gut. Citrus fruits are particularly beneficial for digestion; the organic acids in all citrus fruits stimulate digestive juices and relieve constipation. 

Grapefruit juice in particular eases constipation and improves digestion by increasing the flow of gastric juices. By eating at least three raw fruits daily, you can help promote regularity and good digestive health. 

Citrus fruits are so important for the diet, because the vitamin C delivers natural acids to the stomach that speed up the process of fermentation, helping to establish a healthy gut and diverse microbiome. 

6. Liver and Kidney Function

Lemon juice in particular, is particularly beneficial for the liver and kidneys. While the liver is the organ for metabolising food, the kidney is responsible for flushing out toxins.

The Vitamin C, essential oils, pectin and flavonoids in lemons help prevent oxidative damage and lipid per oxidation. The natural acids improve the health of the gut lining, thereby reducing waste products that arrive at the liver via the gut. 

Lemons in particular are known to improve liver function because they're the only fruit on earth that have what is known as 'anions', special enzymes that resemble bile.  By drinking 1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice every day you'll help heal a damaged liver.  Alcohol does increase intestinal permeability and allows bacteria from the gut to travel to the liver, potentially damaging liver cells.  Lemon can help to heal this damage.

Lemons also stimulate the adrenal system and increase the vitality of the kidneys. The citric acid may also protect against the formation of kidney stones. 

Learn more in Top Whole Foods for Healthy Kidneys.

More ways that citrus fruits benefit you:

  • When consumed at night, grapefruit juice promotes sleep and alleviates insomnia;
  • Research shows the pectin content of grapefruit reduces appetite by slowing the emptying of the stomach, which can help you maintain a healthy weight; 
  • Fruits high in citrus flavonoids can reduce inflammation;
  • Make sure you dig deep into the rind of citrus fruits to access the pectin, which is full of beneficial nutrients.  When using lemons for cold-pressed juicing, keep the skin on;
  • Try the Citrus Bliss doTERRA essential oil for a boost of citrus goodness to your day; 

On days when you don't have citrus fruits handy, a great substitute is our natural, tangy nutrient-packed Tropical RAW Juice Powder

Conclusion

Don't believe the false information that citrus fruits should be avoided due to their acidity.  These acids perform vital functions within the stomach and actually help to cultivate an alkaline rich environment in the body, helping to prevent sickness and disease.

Citrus fruits are sweet, tangy, juicy, delicious and refreshing. Cut them into wedges and enjoy them on their own, add them to tropical fruit salads, or juice them with other fruits and enjoy til your hearts content.  It's a great idea to include two serves of citrus into your diet at least 5 times per week to support healthy immunity.

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