Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits
A juicy orange, a flavorful grapefruit, a sweet tangerine… the citrus family provides us with some of our most well-loved fruits! And along with being delicious, their impressive health benefits make them absolutely worth including in our diets.
Citrus fruits includes the familiar oranges (there are over 600 different kinds!), grapefruit, limes, lemons, and tangerines, but also some lesser-known members such as ugli fruit, yuzu, kumquat, citron, bergamots, Buddha’s hand, and pomelos. Many of these fruits aren’t separate species, but hybrids of other existing citrus fruits (for example, grapefruits are actually a hybrid of the pomelo and sweet orange, and tangelos are a hybrid of either mandarin oranges or tangerines and grapefruit!). Like kiwis, citrus fruits are technically a type of berry. And despite their popularity today, citrus wasn’t always so abundant: lemons were once so rare that they were given to kings as gifts!
Along with being delicious, the impressive health benefits of citrus fruit make them absolutely worth including in our diets. In particular, eating citrus fruit regularly is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, dementia and all-cause mortality.
Citrus Fruits Reduce Cardiovascular Disease, Depression and Dementia
A 2011 cohort study of 10,623 Japanese adults with no history of cardiovascular disease found that near-daily intake of citrus fruit (compared with infrequent intake of citrus fruit) was associated with a 43% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in men and 49% reduced risk in women.
A prospective cohort study following 82,643 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II, throughout a 10-year period, showed an inverse association with depression risk in participants who consumed 2 or greater servings per day of citrus fruit or juices as compared with less than one serving per week (18% lower risk).
Frequent citrus consumption was also associated with a lower risk of dementia in the 2006 Osaka Cohort Study looking at impact of daily citrus intake in 13,373 elderly Japanese participants over 5.7 years. Overall, there was a decrease in incident dementia in participants who consumed citrus fruit 3 to 4 times per week (8% lower) and almost every day (14% lower) as compared to those who consumed citrus 2 or fewer times per week.
A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis of 95 studies found that citrus (high versus low consumption) is significantly associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality:
- total stroke (up to a 26% lower risk),
- ischemic stroke (up to 22% lower risk),
- hemorrhagic (up to 26% lower risk),
- coronary heart disease (up to 9% lower risk),
- cardiovascular disease (up to 22% lower risk), and
- all-cause mortality (up to 10% lower risk).
Those are some very impressive benefits to cardiovascular disease risk and neurological health!
Examples of Citrus Fruits
- blood orange
- Buddha’s hand
- kaffir lime
- key lime
- Meyer lemon
Nutrients in Citrus Fruits
Expand to see all scientific references for this article.
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