Citrus: Immune Boosters.

So growing up as kids, our parents always made us consume citrus when we were getting sick -- well, at least mine did. My dad use to take and warm up grapefruit juice and make me gargle and drink it for a sore throat. My mom always made me drink large amounts of orange juice (I prefer pulp free) to help fight the sniffles. Lemon tea with a little honey was always great too when a cold was coming on. I never really understood then why it was so important, but as I got older, I started learning about the benefits of these beautiful gems. I figured since it was that time of year again when sniffles, sneezes and sour throats are running rampant -- that I'd take the time to remind everyone why they're so important. I'm just going to touch on a few today and wrap up the topic next week.

Oranges -- there are several different varieties from sweet to bitter -- Valencia, Persian, Naval, Jaffa and Blood. The most popular ones, of course being the sweeter ones, are what you typically find in your every day orange juice varieties.

  • Helps fight off viral infections due to an increased amount of polyphenols -- also helpful for treating bronchitis and pneumonia as well as several other diseases.
  • High amounts of Vitamin C help fight off free radicals that can lead to cancer. Liminoid also helps fight off certain forms of cancer that can affect the skin, lungs, colon, stomach, breast and mouth. Vitamin C also helps reduce chances of heart disease and has great anti-inflammatory properties that help with arthritis and other debilitating joint/muscle issues. 
  • Helps to alleviate constipation due to high levels of dietary fiber.
  • The flavonoid Hesperidin helps to regulate blood pressure and the magnesium found in oranges helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Good levels of beta-carotene helps protect our skin from free radicals that can cause cancer and damage, as well as help delay the signs of aging. 
  • Oranges are full of calcium which promotes strong teeth and bones.
  • Helps prevent kidney issues -- and regulates the formation of kidney stones when used in moderation.
Additional Sources: WHFoods and Juicing For Health

Grapefruits -- there are a ton of different types, but most commonly you'll find red, white and pink pulp kinds in the States. Fun Fact: They actually got their name because of how they grow -- you can find them in clusters, just like you would grapes. 
  • These also have high levels of Vitamin C which help with boosting the immune system as well as fighting off common colds, reducing fevers, helping to increase liver function and getting rid of gallstones. 
  • Antioxidants found in grapefuit can help lower cholesterol levels but you shouldn't eat them if you're on any prescriptions -- something in the fruit causes a negative reaction to certain meds and you should ask a doctor first. 
  • Just like oranges, there is a high level of lycopene that helps fight off free radicals that lead to cancers and skin damage. Naringenin is a compound found in grapefruit that helps repair damaged DNA cells and by doing so slows/reduces/stops the reproduction of cancer cells. 
  • Contains salicylic acid helps alleviate arthritis by breaking down the inorganic calcium in our bodies that binds up our joints/ligaments. Also because of salicyclic acid, grapefruit seed extracts can be added to water to be used as an antiseptic for treating infections. 
  • Got a few extra pounds? (who doesn't!) Grapefruit helps speed up your metabolism, thus helping you to shed some weight. You should definitely add them to your regimen if you're looking for something to speed things up.
Additional Sources: WHFoods and Organic Facts

What are some of your favorite uses for citrus?

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