Citrus fruits — oranges in particular — are so commonly consumed that we tend to forget what nutritional powerhouses they are. Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons contain more than 170 phytochemicals — including flavonoids, which in addition to having antioxidant properties, may also have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor effects.
Indeed, citrus fruits’ effects may begin the moment you put them in your mouth. Australian researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization found a link between high citrus consumption and a 50% lower risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat and stomach in a preliminary study. The same research found that an extra citrus serving (on top of the recommended minimum of 5-a-day) may also reduce the risk of stroke by almost 20%. Other benefits might include protection against heart disease and diabetes.
Bonus: Did you know that among citrus fruits the tangerine is highest in pectin? This soluble fiber benefits your heart by lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Published February 1, 2006