Citrus fruits originated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. These fruits are covered in a skin, commonly referred to as a rind or the zest, contain pulp and are high in acidity. Most of the time these fruits are eaten fresh after being peeled and cut into segments.
Citrus fruits are often used to make juices and are loaded with Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Different examples of citrus fruits are lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and tangerines. Lemons and limes are not usually eaten on their own. They are used for flavoring foods, garnishing meals and cooking in dishes.
These two citrus fruits contain limonin and limonene, compounds that help block cellular changes in the body that lead to cancer. Limonene is found mainly in the rind of the fruit. This compound has been proven to increase levels of enzymes in the liver that remove cancer-causing chemicals. Most of the healing compounds of these fruits can be found inside the rind or zest.
Tangerines are another name for mandarin oranges and are one of the citrus fruits included in the orange family. They have separate nutritious components as regular oranges, containing beta-cryptoxanthin that converts to Vitamin A inside the body. This fruit also contains tangeretin and nobiletin, two important compounds that fight against breast cancer.
Tangeretin is known for inhibiting the growth of leukemia. Just like the other citrus fruits, the most healthy components are found in the rind or zest. The rind can be grated to create zest strips. The zest strips can be stirred in juice or sprinkled on salads to enjoy the full benefits of these fruits.
Oranges are not only known for their content of Vitamin C, they are also high in fiber and natural sugars, making them a good source for quick energy. Similar to lemons and limes, this fruit contains limonin and limonene. Limonene attacks tumor cells and lesions inside the body.
Oranges also contain limonin glucoside and hesperidin as well. Aside from Vitamin C, they are extremely high in various antioxidants that fight off cancers. Hesperidin is good for raising the good cholesterol in the body while lowering the bad cholesterol.
Grapefruits tend to have a sour taste that doesn't appeal to a lot of people. Aside from Vitamin C, this citrus fruit contains lycopene, limonoids and naringin. These compounds reduce cold symptoms and decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease. They are also capable of eliminating free radicals in the body.
Large amounts of pectin are found in grapefruits. Pectin is a type of fiber that lowers cholesterol. It forms a gel in the intestines that help block the absorption of fats into the bloodstream.