I absolutely love citrus fruits! Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes are largely underestimated for their nutritional value. All are excellent sources of vitamin C and bioflavanoids which work in harmony together to strengthen the body.
Lately, I have been suffering a lot from hayfever. Constant fatigue, itchy eyes and sneezing can be the most irritating thing during Springtime. Hayfever (or allergic rhinitis) is an immune reaction to allergens like grass pollen in Spring or throughout the year as a reaction to household dust mites, animal fur or mould.
Lemons and oranges have particular bioflavanoids, hesperidin and quercetin, that help to combat hayfever symptoms. In susceptible individuals, IgE antibodies attach themselves to mast cells (specialized immune cells) and when exposed to an allergen, trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals. Hesperidin and Quercetin, together with vitamin C, help to stabilize mast cells inhibiting histamine release. This is how anti-histamine drugs, like Zyrtec and Claratyne, work in the body.
Consider yourself a gym junkie? Well, citrus fruits could hugely benefit you! Research has shown that oranges can reduce muscle fatigue.
When training strenuously, if lactic acid builds up in our muscles faster than it can be removed it results in a burning sensation in the muscle which forces the body to stop (this usually happens a lot to runners). Marturitas Journal published a study in 2010 showing how consumption of 2 cups of orange juice before aerobic exercise decreased lactate levels by 27% compared to 17% in the control group. It was also found that this amount of orange juice lowered LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) by 15% and increased HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’) by 18%. This shows that oranges can have a beneficial effect by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by having a positive effect on blood lipid levels. To some extent it also improves physical performance as it aids the body in the removal of lactate a lot faster. These findings can be attributed to the hesperidin and vitamin C that oranges contain.
Now, before you go out to buy orange juice by the bucketful, be aware: even though it contains beneficial nutrients, it is also very high in sugar. If you want to reap the benefits of oranges, eat the whole fruit. The bioflavanoids are concentrated in the fibre and white pith so it is so much better to eat it! The fibre will also dampen the insulin response and fill you up. Too much fruit juice of any kind can have a negative effect on cholesterol levels and can contribute to heart disease and obesity so be cautious with your intake.
Now, to my favourite citrus fruit – can you guess what it is?
Lemons! (Hence, Living Lemon Nutrition)
Did you know that lemons are one of the only anionic foods on the planet?
The liver produces huge amounts of bile, which is also anionic, as part of our metabolic processes to aid digestion. When liver function is weakened, it has to work harder to produce bile in order to digest food which puts stress on the body. By incorporating lemons into the diet, the liver doesn’t have to work as hard to make bile. This aids in liver regeneration and gives it more time to rest and repair.
I eat lemons everyday for this reason. Every morning, I start the day with half a lemon squeezed into a glass of warm water. Whenever I feel sluggish or tired, I do this as well; it’s an amazing energy booster!
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Have a lovely week everyone!
Love Stace x