Citrus fruits are most protective against stomach, mouth, larynx and pharynx cancers. Some studies also show benefits for heart disease and stroke, as well as a myriad of other conditions ranging from arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts and gallstones.
Most people are aware that citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C – one orange supplies more than the recommended daily intake. Citrus also provides significant amounts of dietary fibre, folate, potassium and beta-carotene. In addition, these fruits are low in fat and have a low glycaemic index, useful for managing diabetes and weight control.
Recent attention however has focused on the hundreds of phytochemicals contained in citrus fruit. These natural compounds are biologically active and collectively act as strong fighters of chronic disease if we consume them regularly from plant foods. Yet most Australians do not eat enough citrus fruits or other plant foods.
One orange, for example, contains more than 170 different phytochemicals, many of which have been shown to have strong antioxidant effects, fight tumours, block inflammation and reduce blood clotting.
Citrus fruits include oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangelos and pomelos. To protect yourself, include one citrus fruit daily or on most days. For example, freshly squeezed orange juice or ruby red grapefruit juice (with the pulp) at breakfast or mandarin segments as a snack. You may like to try fresh lime juice squeezed in a glass of water or include lemon juice in replace of vinegar in salad dressings.