Citrus fruits are a very important complement in the daily diet for the human organism, since they are an important source of vitamins and minerals necessary for nutrition and the functioning of organic metabolism.
In the following article, we present a list of some of the most beneficial citrus fruits for health, where you will be able to learn about the chemical and nutritional characteristics of each one, as well as its importance for men’s health.
What are citrus fruits?
The Citrus genus , generally referred to as citric, refers to the species of plants whose fruits are characterized by containing a high level of vitamin C and citric acid , which gives them the sour taste that distinguishes them.
Note: Thanks to its high vitamin C content, this helps the body fight attacks by microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria . They also provide significant amounts of vitamin A and B complex vitamins. A data sheet from the National Institutes of Health clearly describes the characteristics of this vitamin. (1)
On the other hand, the citric acid content helps the body to perform important biochemical functions in human metabolism. A review article talks about the benefits of citric acid in everyday life. (two)
What are citrus fruits?
There is a variety of plants in nature that provides citrus fruits for human consumption, of great nutritional value. Here we present the most important ones:
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C , which is involved in the production of collagen to improve healing , and flavonoids that strengthen the immune system by increasing your body’s defenses.
Note: The pulp of the fruit contains organic acids, mainly citric acid and to a lesser extent malic (which are considered responsible for the acid taste of this food), it also contains acetic and formic acid, enhancing the action of vitamin C.
This fruit in its chemical composition highlights the high amount of ascorbic acid or vitamin C, capable of meeting daily needs with the consumption of a fruit. It also contains appreciable amounts of folates, and to a lesser extent, vitamin A.
To highlight: Oranges are rich in flavonoids. The best known are: hesperidin, neoshesperidin, naringin, narirutin, tangeretin and nobiletin. A clinical note explains the use of hesperidin in certain circulatory conditions. (3)
The tangerine provides significant amounts of vitamin C , not better than the orange but exceeds all citrus fruits in folic acid (which favors the production of red and white blood cells). The contribution of provitamin A is considerable and superior to that of the orange.
Tangerine juice also has volatile substances responsible for its aroma (limonoids) located in the rind, a type of terpene among which d-limonene, an important agent against cancer cells.
Water is the main component of this citrus, so grapefruit has a low caloric value, basically at the expense of carbohydrates. Regarding vitamins, vitamin C stands out and, to a lesser extent, folic acid. Regarding the mineral content, potassium is the highlight and then magnesium.
Note: It also contains folic acid, which is involved in the production of red and white blood cells, in the synthesis of genetic material and the formation of antibodies from the immune system.
It is a fruit with a low caloric intake . Of its nutritional content, vitamins and minerals hardly stand out , with the exception of potassium and insignificant amounts of vitamin C.
Its therapeutic potential is due to the abundance of fiber (pectin and mucilage) and tannins, substances that give it an astringent property, facilitating digestion as well as preventing some gastrointestinal disorders and reducing the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and enhancing the purifying action of the liver.
Vitamin C is the most abundant in pineapple juice and also has a significant content of iodine and somewhat less significant potassium, magnesium and iron. Among the chemical components of this fruit, organic, citric and malic acids stand out , responsible for its acid taste. It contains bromelain , an enzyme capable of breaking down protein molecules, separating the amino acids that form them.
Important: In the digestive function, bromelain facilitates the digestion of proteins as does pepsin, an enzyme produced in the stomach and which is part of the gastric juice. An article explains the importance and action of this enzyme. (4)
The juice of this fruit is a source of vitamin C, with a percentage higher than that of the orange. Strawberries contain various organic acids , among which are: citric acid, malic acid, oxalic, and also contain small amounts of salicylic acid. The color of the strawberry is due to plant pigments (flavonoids).
To highlight: Strawberries are one of the fruits with the highest antioxidant capacity, because in addition to its vitamin C content, it contains anthocyanins and significant amounts of polyphenols (ellagic acid).
This fruit contains sugar and starch, it also provides organic acids such as tartaric, ascorbic, citric and malic. In its nutritional composition it has minerals such as calcium, iron and phosphorus. It is rich in vitamins A, C and group B. It has laxative, astringent, antiseptic and cooling properties.
Note: Tamarind has a cleansing and protective effect on the liver, as well as acting as an antioxidant.
This fruit has a high content of water and carbohydrates , highlighting sorbitol, which has a laxative action. It has an interesting content of provitamin A and vitamin E, both with antioxidant action.
Important: Regarding its nutritional mineral content, the most important is potassium. It is a recommended food to alleviate constipation , due to its mild laxative effect and also due to the presence of soluble fiber, mainly pectin, which absorbs water in the intestine, increasing the volume of feces and favoring evacuation.
In terms of minerals and vitamins, grapes include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and vitamins C (ascorbic acid), B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 ( niacin ), B6 ( pyridoxine), E (a-tocopherol), plus folate and vitamins A and K.
To highlight: The grape is a source of many phytochemicals such as phenolic compounds including cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, peonidin, petunidin, quercetin and resveratrol, the latter, with a great positive impact on human health as an antioxidant. A scientific article explains the benefits of this flavonoid. (5)
- Citrus fruits have important contributions in vitamin C and citric acid.
- They are characterized by their sour taste.
- They contain significant amounts of fiber that helps in digestive function.
- They are easy to access and consume since they grow in nature.
- They can be consumed by all people.