MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
(Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Pomelos, Tangerines)
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HEALTH BENEFITS OF CITRUS FRUITS
Citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits, in addition to tangerines and pomelos. Citrus fruits are not only delicious and refreshing, they earn their definition of an all-star food for their richness in compounds called Flavonoids, which have anticancer properties. Citrus fruit flavonoids have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the spread of tumors.
Citrus Flavonoids are also antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals and may protect against heart disease. Studies show that citrus flavonoids may improve blood flow through coronary arteries, reduce the ability of arteries to form blood clots and prevent the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, which is an initial step in the formation of artery plaques.
Citrus fruits are also high in Vitamin C, and are good sources of Folate and Potassium. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals. It is also required for the synthesis of collagen, which helps wounds heal and helps hold blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bone together. The vitamin C in citrus fruit strongly enhances the absorption of Iron in food. Vitamin C binds to iron in the digestive tract and the iron-vitamin C complex is absorbed together. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that is essential for the function of nerves, heart contraction, and some enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CITRUS FRUIT
While the orange is a favorite among citrus, there are many other unique varieties of citrus that you may not have heard about. It is good to try new foods and find new favorites.
Cara Cara Orange: A type of navel orange that looks like a regular orange on the outside, but is a distinctive pinkish red on the inside. Cara cara oranges are very sweet and have a tangy hint of cranberries.
Blood Orange: Smaller than the average orange, the blood orange gets its name from the striking bright red to maroon interior. Blood oranges have an intense orange flavor with a hint of fresh raspberry.
Pomelo: The largest citrus fruit, the pomelo closely resembles the grapefruit. Pomelos have a thick yellow to green skin, with an interior that ranges from white to deep pink. Pomelos taste sweeter and less acidic than grapefruit.
Minneola Tangelo: A hybrid between the grapefruit and tangerine, this fruit has a refreshing combination of tart and sweet flavors.
USEFUL CITRUS TIPS
Store citrus fruit at room temperature if you will eat it in a week or so; otherwise, it will keep in the crisper for six to eight weeks. Squirt some lemon juice on fresh cut fruits or fresh guacamole to prevent them from browning quickly.
Citrus fruits have long been valued as part of a nutritious and tasty diet. The flavors provided by citrus are among the most preferred in the world, and it is increasingly evident that citrus not only tastes good, but is also good for people.
It is well established that citrus and citrus products are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre (non-starch polysaccharides) that are essential for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being. However, it is now beginning to be appreciated that these and other biologically active, non-nutrient compounds found in citrus and other plants (phytochemicals) can also help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Where appropriate, dietary guidelines and recommendations that encourage the consumption of citrus fruit and their products can lead to widespread nutritional benefits across the population.
MORE THAN VITAMIN C: THE NUTRIENT CONTENT AND FUNCTIONS OF CITRUS
Citrus is most commonly thought of as a good source of vitamin C. However, like most other whole foods, citrus fruits also contain an impressive list of other essential nutrients, including both glycemic and non-glycemic carbohydrate (sugars and fiber), potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a variety of phytochemicals. In addition, citrus contains no fat or sodium and, being a plant food, no cholesterol.
The average energy value of fresh citrus is also low, which can be very important for consumers concerned about putting on excess body weight. For example a medium orange contains 60 to 80 kcal, a grapefruit 90 kcal and a tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice only 4 kcal.
NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF CERTAIN FRESH CITRUS FOODS Nutrient Orange Grapefruit Tangerine Weight 131 g 236 g 84 g Energy 62 kcal 78 kcal 37 kcal Fiber 3.1 g 2.5 g 1.7 g Ascorbic Acid 70 mg 79 mg 26 mg Folate 40 mcg 24 mcg 17 mcg Potassium 237 mg 350 mg 132 mg
Source: Gutherie & Picciano, 1995.
WHOLE FOODS VERSUS SINGLE NUTRIENTS
Scurvy, a serious deficiency of vitamin C that has caused tremendous human suffering throughout history, was first described by ancient Egyptians, and then by the Greeks and Romans. For hundreds of years, scurvy was a scourge of long-distance sailors, soldiers, explorers and the poor in many countries where there was a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables. However, it was not recognized that scurvy could be prevented and cured by consuming citrus fruit until the eighteenth century. And it would be another 200 years before vitamin C was isolated and its deficiency identified as the cause of the disease.
The lesson from this is still important today; people do not need to understand everything about individual nutrients in order to consume nutritionally adequate and well-balanced diets. Even though the current understanding of nutrition, health and disease has advanced well beyond nutrient deficiencies, there is still much that is not known, and probably never will be known, about the relationships between diet and health. Fortunately, however, with a bit of common sense, people can still be well nourished even though the understanding of nutritional science may be incomplete.
For example, research efforts exploring the possible protective effects of phytochemicals against various forms of chronic diseases have often shown an association with the consumption of various foods rich in these compounds, but not with specific phytochemicals themselves. There are several possible explanations for this, including: the specific phytochemicals being investigated may not be the ones that have an effect; the effects of individual phytochemicals may be additive; and it may be the interaction of two or more phytochemicals and nutrients that produces an effect.
Since the understanding of nutrition science and the complex functions and interactions of the many vitamins, minerals, macronutrients and phytochemicals contained in food is still so incomplete, it is important that a rational and time-tested approach be taken to the promotion of good nutrition. It is also important to continue emphasizing the benefits of nutrient-dense foods, such as citrus fruits, and to recognize that the consumption of whole foods and natural juices is preferred over the consumption of individual nutrients that have been isolated from food and then consumed as dietary supplements. Focusing on single nutrients, instead of foods and the total diet, does not constitute a healthful approach to good nutrition.
The main energy-yielding nutrient in citrus is carbohydrate. Citrus contains the simple carbohydrates (sugars) fructose, glucose and sucrose, as well as citric acid which can also provide a small amount of energy. Citrus fruits also contain non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), commonly known as dietary fibre, which is a complex carbohydrate with important health benefits. The predominant type of fiber in citrus is pectin, making up 65 to 70 percent of the total fiber. The remaining fiber is in the form of cellulose, hemicellulose and trace amounts of gums. Citrus also contains lignin, a fiber-like component. In the body, NSP holds water-soluble nutrients in a gel matrix which delays gastric emptying and slows digestion and absorption. This tends to promote satiety, and may reduce the rate of glucose uptake following consumption of glycemic (available) carbohydrate, thus helping to prevent a surge in blood glucose levels. Improper regulation of blood glucose results in either hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). NSP can also interfere with the reabsorption of bile acids which may help in lowering plasma cholesterol levels. A reasonable goal for dietary NSP/Fibere intake is 25 to 30 grams per day, but in many developed countries the actual average intake is closer to 15 grams. With one medium orange containing approximately 3.0 grams of NSP, citrus fruit can make a valuable contribution to meeting the daily fiber goal.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is an essential water-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the formation of collagen, a primary component of much of the connective tissue in the body. Adequate collagen synthesis is essential for strong ligaments, tendons, dentin, skin, blood vessels and bones, and for wound healing and tissue repair. The weakening of these tissues is a symptom of vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is an important aid in the absorption of inorganic iron; it has also been shown to aid in the treatment of anemia and stress. Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C does not seem to prevent the onset of the common cold, but in some studies it has been reported to reduce the length and severity of the symptoms.
Contemporary interest in vitamin C centers on its ability to perform antioxidant functions. As an antioxidant, it can help prevent the cell damage done by free radical molecules as they oxidize protein, fatty acids and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the body. Free radical damage has been implicated in the progression of several diverse and important disease states including cancer, cardiovascular disease and cataract formation. Being a good source of antioxidants, if regularly consumed, citrus can be an important part of a diet aimed at reducing the risk of such chronic disease.
Only 10 mg of vitamin C per day are required to prevent vitamin C deficiency and the devastating disease scurvy. However, for good health and sufficient body storage of vitamin C, 30 to 100 mg/day is generally recommended, although some recent studies have provided evidence that more than 200 mg/day may be optimal for the prevention of chronic disease. Too much vitamin C (above 500 mg), generally seen with very high levels of supplementation, may be dangerous, especially for those at risk of iron overload. Consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables each day can result in an intake of about 200 mg of vitamin C. Citrus fruits are a particularly good source of vitamin C, with one medium orange or grapefruit providing approximately 70 mg and 56 mg, respectively. A 225 ml glass of orange juice contains approximately 125 mg of vitamin C.
Folate (Folic Acid) is a water-soluble vitamin essential for new cell production and growth. It helps in the production of DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) and mature red blood cells, which ultimately prevent anemia. In the United States, the recommended daily intake of folate is 180 mcg for females and 200 mcg for males. Over the past decade, however, it has become clear that higher levels of folic acid, 400 mcg, are associated with the prevention of neural tube defects, a severe birth defect. A 225 ml glass of orange juice provides 75 mcg of folic acid.
Potassium is an essential mineral that works to maintain the body's water and acid balance. As an important electrolyte, it plays a role in transmitting nerve impulses to muscles, in muscle contraction and in the maintenance of normal blood pressure. The daily requirement of potassium is approximately 2,000 mg and, while deficiency of potassium is rare, there is some concern that a high sodium-to-potassium intake ratio may be a risk factor for chronic disease. Increased consumption of citrus fruits and juices is a good means of increasing potassium intake. One medium orange and one 225 ml glass of orange juice provide approximately 235 mg and 500 mg of potassium, respectively.
These naturally occurring compounds found in plants have a wide range of physiological effects and may help to protect against various chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The wide variety and number of known phytochemicals continue to grow, as does understanding of their role and importance in the diet. Several classes of phytochemicals, including monoterpenes, limonoids (triterpenes), flavanoids, carotenoids and hydroxycinnamic acid, have been isolated from citrus.
Plants are sources of phytochemicals which provide significant health benefits and are generally available only from the diet. Citrus fruits provide these phytochemicals:
- Limonoids (triterpenes)
- Hydroxycinnamic acid
The possible anticarcinogenic mechanisms of phytochemicals include their antioxidant capabilities, their effects on cell differentiation, an increased activity of the enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, an altered colonic milieu, and the blocking of nitrosamines. The regular intake of a varied mix of phytochemicals is only possible through the consumption of plant-based foods, such as citrus, as part of the normal diet.
THE NUTRITIONAL & HEALTH BENEFITS OF CITRUS FRUITS
Public health workers and nutritionists generally encourage the consumption of citrus fruits and juices. The nutrient and non-nutrient factors in citrus promote health and may provide protection against a number of illnesses. Citrus fruits contain carbohydrate, fibre, vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a variety of phytochemicals. In this article, the history of knowledge about citrus fruit is reviewed and current research is described. There is scientific evidence that citrus consumption may help to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, anaemia, birth defects and cataracts. Citrus fruits are equally valuable among populations who need to overcome and prevent micronutrient deficiencies as well as those concerned with problems of overnutrition, obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Surveys in many countries show that citrus intakes are often low. Food preferences, learning history, cultural values, perceptions, attitudes and societal factors, such as the media and advertising, as well as availability and variety, all play a role in determining food choice. Among the barriers to consumption of citrus are high cost, fear of harmful pesticides and quick spoilage. The elderly, the poor and the critically ill may have inadequate access to fresh food and often consume very little citrus fruit and juices. In the past 20 years, greater health-consciousness, the desire for convenience foods, and rising incomes have increased the demand for citrus. The potential for citrus consumption to increase as part of the overall recommended increase in fruit and vegetable consumption is considerable.
TYPE OF CITRUS FRUITS Amanatsu
Balady (Israel) Citron
Citrus x aurantium
Citrus x sinensis
X Citrofortunella mitis
Citrus reticulata x maxima
Citrus x paradisi
Citrus x iyo
Citrus nobilis x deliciosa
Citrus unshiu x sinensis
Citrus x latifolia
Citrus x meyeri
Citrus x sinensis
Citrus limon x medica
Citrus x limonia
Citrus ichangensis x maxima
Citrus x depressa
Citrus reticulata x maxima x paradisi
Citrus riticulata x sinensis
Citrus reticulata x paradisi
All citrus fruit is acid fruit. The acid fruits are the most detoxifying fruits and excellent foods. They should be avoided when you have the flu because the body could overreact detoxifying and make you even more sick. Some people may have problems with these fruits because of their acid content. The acid though is a healthy and organic nutritional element. For instance, Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C, found especially in fruits and vegetables. Other people have one type of fruit that irritates the body or that they do not like. This can be caused by an allergic reaction caused by drinking milk. There is a good chance that after staying away from dairy this reaction disappears. Stories are known of people who have had stomach irritation for freshly squeezed orange juice disappeared after cutting down strongly on cowmilk products. According to the dental profession, the acids in citrus foods can damage the enamel on teeth. If you are concerned about this problem, try drinking a glass of water following citrus fruit and swishing it around the teeth before swallowing it. Brushing your teeth following an acidic fruit is also another recommendation.
NUTRIENTS IN VARIOUS TYPES OF FRUITS
Food energy water fiber fat protein sugar vit.A vit.C vit.B1 vit.B2 vit.B6 vit.E substance= 100 g. kJ/Kcal % g g g g ug mg mg mg mg mg Apple 207/49 84 2.3 0 0.4 11.8 2 15 0.02 0.01 0.05 0.5 Apricot 153/36 87 2.1 0 1.0 8.0 420 5 0.06 0.05 0.06 0.5 Avocado 523/126 81 0.2 10 2.0 7.0 20 17 0.06 0.12 0.36 3.2 Blueberry 204/48 80 8.4 0 1.0 11.0 0 10 0.02 0.03 0.05 1.9 Blackberry 170/40 85 8.7 0 2.0 8.0 30 150 0.08 0.04 0.07 1.0 Banana 375/88 76 2.7 0 1.2 20.4 3 10 0.04 0.03 0.36 0.3 Carrots 48 /11 92 3.3 0 0.6 2.2 312 2 0.03 0.04 0.08 0.2 Cranberry 68 /16 89 4.2 0 0.0 4.0 0 15 0.00 0.01 0.07 0 Cherry 221/52 86 1.2 0 0.0 13.0 40 10 0.02 0.02 0.04 0.1 Date 1275/300 20 7.5 0 2.0 73.0 0 0 0.05 0.10 >0.10 0.7 Fig 340/80 80 2.0 0 1.0 19.0 10 3 0.06 0.05 0.11 - Grapefruit,Red 128/30 90 1.4 0 >0.9 6.6 0 40 0.07 0.02 0.03 0.5 Grapes 274/64 83 2.2 0 0.6 15.5 0 3 0.03 0.01 0.08 0.6 Guava 306/72 81 5.3 0 1.0 17.0 30 218 0.04 0.04 0.14 - Gooseberry 170/40 88 3.2 0 1.0 9.0 0 30 0.02 0.01 0.08 0.4 Food energy water fiber fat protein sugar vit.A vit.C vit.B1 vit.B2 vit.B6 vit.E substance= 100 g. kJ/Kcal % g g g g ug mg mg mg mg mg Kiwi Fruit 168/40 84 2.1 0 1.1 8.8 5 70 0.01 0.02 0.12 1.9 Kumquat 289/68 82 1.5 0 1.0 16.0 160 55 0.14 0.06 - - Lemon 51/12 96 1.8 0 0.0 3.0 0 40 0.06 0.02 0.04 0.8 Lime 156/37 91 0.3 0 0.0 7.0 0 40 0.03 0.02 0.08 - Lychee 323/76 82 1.5 0 1.0 18.0 0 39 0.05 0.05 - - Mandarin/ Tangerine 177/42 88 1.9 0 0.9 9.5 12 30 0.08 0.03 0.084 0.4 Mango 255/60 84 1.0 0 0.0 15.0 210 53 0.05 0.06 0.13 1.0 Melon, Red Water 153/36 93 0.6 0 1.0 8.0 30 6 0.04 0.05 0.07 - Melon, Cantaloupe 122/29 89 0.6 0 0.9 6.3 7 32 0.05 0.02 0.10 0.2 Olive 586/142 75 4.4 14 1.0 3.0 50 0 0.03 0.08 0.00 2.0 Orange 198/47 87 1.8 0 1.0 10.6 2 49 0.07 0.03 0.06 0.1 Papaya 136/32 91 0.6 0 0.0 8.0 40 46 0.03 0.04 0.04 - PassionFruit 158/37 88 3.3 0.4 2.6 5.8 125 23 0.03 0.12 - 0.5 Peach 151/36 89 1.4 0 1.0 7.9 15 7 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.0 Pear 201/47 86 2.1 0 0.3 11.5 0.0 4 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.1 Red Bell Pepper 119/28 91 2.2 0 1.0 6.0 172 80 0.04 0.14 0.43 6.4 Persimmon 325/76 81 0.5 0 0.5 18.6 260 16 0.02 0.03 >- - Pineapple 211/50 84 1.2 0 0.4 12.0 20 25 0.07 0.02 0.09 0.1 Pomegranate 343/81 82 3.4 0 1.0 17.0 10 7 0.05 0.02 0.31 - Plum 177/42 84 2.2 0 0.8 9.6 18 5 0.02 0.03 0.10 0.7 Strawberry 99/23 91 2.2 0 0.7 5.1 10 60 0.02 0.03 0.06 0.4 Tomato 48/11 97 1.4 0 0.9 1.9 140 15 0.05 0.02 0.08 0.7 Food energy water fiber fat protein sugar vit.A vit.C vit.B1 vit.B2 vit.B6 vit.E substance= 100 g. kJ/Kcal % g g g g ug mg mg mg mg mg
CHOOSING & COMBINING FRUITS WITH CITRUS FOR OPTIMAL NUTRITION
When choosing fruits, not only for flavor profiles and how well they taste together, you should also look for how much energy can be extracted out of the fruit by your body. This will help to keep you going throughout the day and quickly recharge your body when it slows down and needs a boost. As the energy fruit contains consists of natural sugars, the fruit is easily digested in about 30 minutes. This chemical process has no toxic waste products that are difficult to remove from the body and it even stimulates the removal of toxic elements.
In comparison, animal products energy consists of fat and proteins. Because the high amount of proteins, it is digested in 6 to 8 hours. This chemical process does produce toxic waste products that have to be removed from your body.
Another remarkable difference is that fruit contains a substantial amount of fibers while animal based products do not contain any. Fibers are very important for maintaining digestive health of your intestinal tract including your colon. The water percentage of fruit (80-percent) is higher than that of meat (15-percent) and comes more near the water percentage of the human body (80-percent).
Favorite fruits used to blend with citrus fruits are bananas, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, kiwi, and guava. Guava appears to be at the top of the list, according to research, as one of the most nutritious fruits. Use ripe and ready to eat fruits at their peak of nutritious potential. Some favorite fruit recipes are included below for blending and juicing, making quick and delicious quick energy drinks.
HEALTHY FRUITY DRINK RECIPES
Buy a juicer or blender and create colorful and healthy drinks, everyone in the family will love you for it!
Squeeze at least one fruit drink a day. In this way you eat about 3 to 4 fruits so you can fulfill your daily fruit requirements. Put some ice cubes in the blender with your juice. This cools your fruit drink quickly in summer. Put a little bit of banana in your juice mix and blend it like a milk-shake. This gives your fruit drink a certain softness and body and reduces the bitterness (caused by grapefruits for example). Take sweet fruits to blend. Use citrus fruits (oranges, red-grapefruits) as a basis and mix it in the blender with the sweet fruits of your choice. You can squeeze a jar of orange juice that you keep in the fridge and blend it with the fruit of your choice when you want to. Squeeze five to nine pieces of fruit a day for optimal health benefits.
2 cups chopped seeded watermelon
1 cup crushed ice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
fresh mint (optional garnish)
Directions: Combine watermelon, ice, honey, and black pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Garnish with mint. Serve chilled. Stir well before serving. Serves one.
1 cup sliced banana
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth.
PINK PERFECTION JUICE
2 cups hulled strawberries
1 cup chopped watermelon
2 freshly squeezed oranges, juiced
1 freshly squeezed lime, juiced
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Cover and chill. Before serving, shake or stir then pour into chilled glasses.
MIXED TROPICAL FRUIT EXPLOSION
1 large banana, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 kiwi fruits, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup peeled and diced mango
1/2 cup peeled and diced papaya
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in blender and whip until smooth.
CITRUS FRUIT SMOOTHIE
5 cups grapefruit juice
3 cups orange juice
1 cup water
4 medium firm bananas, cut up and frozen
12 frozen unsweetened strawberries
In a blender, place half of each ingredient. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a pitcher. Repeat. Serve immediately.
1 large banana
5 strawberries, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, or 1/2 cup orange juice
1 -1 1/2 cup soymilk or 1 -1 1/2 cup rice milk
almonds or cashews or nut butter
flax seed (optional)
wheat germ (optional)
peach, slices (optional)
nectarine, slices (optional)
Toss all ingredients in blender and frappe. You could also add ice fr a thicken, colder drink.
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 kiwi, quartered and peeled
1/2 banana, peeled
1 cup orange juice
Put it all in a blender and blend. You now have your breakfast drink to start the day.
TROPICAL FRUIT SMOOTHIE
1/2 small papaya
1/2 nectarine or 1/2 peach
1 (6-ounce) container yogurt (pineapple flavor works well)
Directions: Blend everything together and enjoy. If the mixture is thick, you can always add a little milk or juice, or add an orange to the combo to lighten it up a bit.
1 cup milk (can use 1.5 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 to 7 ice cubes
Directions: Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend at slow speed to break up ice. Blend at highest speed for 1 minute.
MARTIAN BOOGIE POWER SMOOTHIE
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 banana, peeled >br? 1 carambola, ends trimmed,any seeds removed (star fruit)
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 kiwi fruit, peeled
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
8 to 10 ice cubes
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
6 ounces vanilla-flavored soymilk
2 pints frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon artificial sweetener or stevia sugar substitute
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serve.
NON ALCOHOLIC SUMMER COOLER
1 (40 ounce) bottle cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 whole orange, sliced thin
1 lemon, sliced thin
1 lime, sliced thin
1 cup fresh strawberries, cleaned & halved
2 fresh peaches, peeled,pitted and thinly sliced 1 small apple, peeled,cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar or 2 tablespoons Splenda or Stevia sugar substitute
1 (26 ounce) bottle club soda
Directions: Combine all the ingredients except the club soda. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Just before serving add the club soda and pour over ice cubes (Or put a splash of soda in a glass and fill up with ice cubes and the sangria).
REFRESHING WATERMELON-LIME FROZEN SLUSHY
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups cubed watermelon (without seeds) or 3 cups other melon
1 1/2 cups ice cubes
1/2 lemon, juice of, plus grated rind
1 cup cooled strong-brewed tea, from a cherry or almond tea bag (you can try other flavors, too)
Heat the sugar and water, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts. Set aside to cool. Put all the remaining ingredients, including the dissolved sugar syrup, in a blender and blend just long enough to achieve that icy-mush quality. Serve immediately, in tall frosty glasses.
PREVENTION POTENTIAL OF CITRUS
There is considerable evidence that citrus foods may help reduce the risk, or retard the progression, of several serious diseases and disorders.
The prevention potential of citrus foods include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart disease
- Neural tube defects: spina bifida and anencephaly
It is well accepted that a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease. Epidemiological studies have also shown a significant association between vitamin C intake and protection against cardiovascular mortality, but the precise mechanism of protection is still unclear. One major culprit in the development of heart disease appears to be a high level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol. Significantly, a recent study has shown that high intakes of vitamin C (500 mg/day) obtained from the juice of freshly squeezed oranges, prevented a rise in the levels of oxidized LDL, even in the presence of a high-saturated fat diet.
A low dietary intake of folate contributes to the decrease of plasma folate and the raising of plasma homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a toxic agent for the vascular wall and, when plasma levels rise above normal, there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. An inverse dose-response relationship has been identified for fruit and vegetable intake and plasma homocysteine levels. Frequent consumption of folate-rich foods, such as oranges and orange juice, tends to increase plasma folate levels and, thus, lower homocysteine levels.
After numerous studies of fruit and vegetable intake and cancer development, there is a consensus that consuming these foods has a protective effect. However, it is unlikely that one anticarcinogenic substance in particular is responsible for the benefit. There is reasonable scientific support for vitamin C's protective role in cancer. Many of the animal, cell culture and human studies have suggested it has a positive effect. However, epidemiological studies provide good evidence that protective effects are more closely associated with the consumption of fruits and vegetables rather than with the enormous levels of vitamin C often used in cell culture and animal studies.
NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS
During the first stage of pregnancy, adequate folate intake is critical for reducing the risk of severe birth defects, namely spina bifida and anencephaly. Public health recommendations in the United States include the consumption of 400 mcg of folate per day for women of child-bearing age. Regular consumption of citrus foods can help supply adequate folate and thus reduce the risk of these birth defects.
Vitamin C can increase the absorption of non-heme iron (the inorganic iron form found in plant foods) two- to fourfold. The bioavailability of non-heme iron is much lower than that of heme iron, which is found in foods of animal origin. Vegetarians and individuals who consume little meat and animal products are at an increased risk of iron-deficiency, which can progress to anemia over time. Worldwide, anemia is one of the most serious nutrient-related public health problems, resulting in poor growth, impaired psychomotor development, reduced physical performance and decreased cognitive function. Consuming citrus fruits rich in vitamin C can help prevent anemia and its devastating consequences.
Oxidation of the eye's lens plays a central role in the formation of age-related cataracts. The role of dietary antioxidants, such as vitamin C, in the etiology of cataracts has been a recent focus of research. Lower cataract risk has been shown in individuals with high blood concentrations or intakes of vitamin C and carotenoids. There is now evidence to show that a high level of vitamin C intake over the long term decreases the risk of cataract development. Although epidemiological studies that measure past nutrient intake and status suggest a protective effect from citrus, further studies are needed to examine the long-term benefits of citrus fruit consumption and cataract protection.
BONE METABOOLISM & OSTEOPOROSIS
The influence of nutrient intake on bone density is an area of current research with many unanswered questions. Long-term intake of various foods may be important to bone health, possibly because of their beneficial effect on the acid base balance. Vitamin C intake has been associated with bone mineral density, but more work in this area is necessary to understand the mechanism of interaction.
KIDNEY STONE DISEASE
A kidney stone is a crystal structure formed by excessive salts in the urine. The most common type of stone is the calcium stone. A stone will increase in size until it is not passable and becomes lodged in the ureter. Stone symptoms include severe back pain, blood in the urine and fever. Stones strike men three to four times more often than women. Some people prone to stones have been found with insufficient levels of citrate in their urine and it has been suggested that eating citrus fruits and drinking orange juice may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urinary citrate. More research is needed in this area, but increasing fruit consumption is a nutritionally sound recommendation that may prove to be very beneficial for individuals at risk of certain kinds of kidney stones.
Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. Older subjects with greater intakes of fruits and vegetables, and the corresponding nutrients vitamin C and folate, have been shown to perform better on cognitive tests. The consumption of a satisfactory diet, containing nutrient-dense foods, appears to be associated with better cognitive function in the elderly. More research is needed to determine the effect of long-term citrus consumption on cognition.
Some studies suggest that a diet low in vitamin C is a risk factor for asthma. Vitamin C is the major antioxidant substance present in the airway surface liquid of the lungs, where it could be important in protecting against oxidants. More research is needed to understand whether vitamin C and citrus consumption is protective in the causation and progression of asthma.
FACTORS AFFECTING CITRUS CONSUMPTION
In many populations, even among people who know that citrus is nutritious, the consumption of citrus is often very low. The reasons for this are varied, but it indicates that knowledge of a nutritional benefit is just one of the many factors that influence food choices.
The factors that greatly influence what foods people consume are:
- Nutritional knowledge and education about food choices.
- An individual's food preferences and previous experience with a given food.
- Cultural values, perceptions, attitudes and societal influences including the media and advertising.
- The availability, taste and price of food items.
For these reasons, it is difficult to bring about widespread behavioral change. Clearly, strategies are more likely to modify behavior and improve health if they are directed towards the relevant influences and barriers. Some of the barriers to purchasing and consuming citrus are high cost, fear of harmful pesticides and quick spoilage.
Elderly and disabled individuals surviving on low, fixed incomes faced with rising food costs (along with rising medical and medication expenses and service cuts, rising housing, utility and transportation costs) are among those with the greatest risk of nutritional deficiencies and related health concerns. Unlike low income families with children that qualify for various food-supplemental programs and are often able to get extra help from various agencies, many of our elderly and disabled do not qualify for food assistance help and do not have any financial resources left after paying their monthly expenses to afford enough quality food to maintain good health. Many receive benefits that are right at the poverty borderline of whether or not they qualify for certain medical aide programs such as medicaid to supplement their medicare coverage. A cost of living increase can push them over the edge (by a dollar or two) where previous assistance is then discontinued and all future medical coverage expenses are then deducted from their benefits, sending them into further financial stress. Many have to choose between food and medicine. During the winter months, it may be a choice between food, medicine and heat. Many single person households simply do not qualify for food stamp programs because the income limit qualification requirements are set so far below actual monthly expense reality, it makes one wonder who actually sets these income levels for these programs. Personally, I would love to see our governmental officials who set up these income limits for medical, fuel & heating, and food assistance try to live on the average monthly social security benefits given to an elderly or disabled person. I would love to see them actually try to shop at a supermarket and only spend what an elderly person has to survive on for the month and maintain a healthy diet. Chances are very good that they would not be able to do this.
Over the past two decades, rising incomes and the shift in consumer preferences towards healthier, more convenient products have contributed to a growth in demand for citrus. Income levels also influence the variety and form of citrus consumed; in developed countries more processed citrus is consumed than in developing countries where people consume more fresh citrus. Further increases in citrus consumption are possible, but will require an integrated approach to improving consumer awareness and bringing about behavioral change.
The health benefits associated with citrus consumption are clear. Citrus fruits are nutrient-dense foods that can be good sources of carbohydrates, including dietary fiber, and many vitamins and minerals. Citrus fruits are equally valuable among populations who need to overcome and prevent micronutrient deficiencies as well as those concerned with problems of overnutrition, obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. For example, citrus is an ideal component of low-fat, sodium-restricted diets.
Vulnerable groups most likely to benefit from high citrus consumption:
- Patients with severe burns, fracture, fever, tuberculosis, and post-surgery.
- Critically ill patients
- Immuno-compromised individuals
- The elderly
As nutritionists and public health specialists learn more about the relationship between diet and health, the importance of balanced and varied dietary intakes becomes ever more evident. Accordingly, there is an increasing emphasis on promoting high levels of fruit and vegetable intakes among most population groups. Citrus consumption has a considerable potential to expand as part of this overall recommended increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
While the supply of citrus is a problem in some areas, a greater obstacle is often the lack of effective demand for citrus. Addressing both supply and demand problems, as appropriate, will require that a range of issues, such as agriculture and trade policies, food and nutrition policies, dietary guidance and nutrition education, and marketing, are addressed effectively and in a comprehensive manner. In many countries, a multifaceted approach that brings together, as appropriate, representatives of producers, processors, importers, retailers and consumers with nutritionists and public health specialists can have a significant impact on citrus consumption. Given that increasing the consumption of citrus benefits both producers and consumers, building effective partnerships to that end should not be difficult and would be an invaluable investment in the nutritional well-being and health of the population.
Bandura, A. 1986. Social foundation of thought and action: a social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA, Prentice-Hall. Block, G., Patterson, B. & Subat, A. 1992. Fruit, vegetable, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutrition and cancer, 18(1): 1-29. Bloom, H. 1998. Determinants of plasma homocysteine. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67: 188-189. Carpenter, K. 1986. The history of scurvy and vitamin C. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1992. Recommendations for the use of folic acid to reduce the number of cases of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 41(RR-14): 1-7 (Review). Cleveland, L., Goldman, J. & Borrud, L. 1996. Results from USDA's 1994 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and 1994 Diet and Health Knowledge Survey, p. 1-68. Riverdale, Md., USA, USDA. Contento, I. 1995. The effectiveness of nutrition education and implications for nutrition education, policy, programs, and research: a review of research. J. Nutr. Educ., 27: 277-418. Fleming, D., Jacques, P., Dallal, G., Tucker, K., Wilson, P. & Wood, R. 1998. Dietary determinants of iron stores in a free living elderly population: The Framingham Heart Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67: 722-733. FMI. 1998. Trends in the United States. Washington, DC, Food Marketing Institute. Gershoff, S. 1993. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): new roles, new requirements? Nutrition Reviews, 51(11): 313-326. Gutherie, H. & Picciano, M. 1995. Human nutrition. St Louis, MO, USA, Mosby. Harats, D., Chevion, S., Nahir, M., Norman, Y., Sagee, O. & Berry, B. 1998. Citrus fruit supplementation reduces lipoprotein oxidation in young men ingesting a diet high in saturated fat: presumptive evidence for an interaction between vitamins C and E in vivo. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67: 240-245. Hatch, G. 1995. Asthma, inhaled oxidants, and dietary antioxidants. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(suppl): 625S-630S. Jacques, P., Taylor, A., Hankinson, S., Willet, W., Mahnken, B., Lee, Y., Vaid, K. & Lahav, M. 1997. Long-term vitamin C supplement use and prevalence of early age-related lens opacities. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66: 911-916. Nestle, M. et al., 1998. Behavioral and social influences on food choice. Nutrition Reviews, 56(5, Part II): S50-S74. New, S., Bolton-Smith, C., Grubb, D. & Reid, D. 1997. Nutritional influences on bone mineral density; a cross-sectional study in premenopausal women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65: 1831-1839. Ortega, R., Requejo, A., Andres, P., Lopez-Sobaler, A., Quintas, M., Redondo, R., Navia, B. & Rivas, T. 1997. Dietary intake and cognitive function in a group of elderly people. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66: 803-809. Putnam, J. & Allshouse, J. 1997. Food consumption, prices, and expenditures. Washington, DC, Economic Research Service, USDA. Steinmetz, K. & Potter, J. 1991. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer, II. Mechanisms. Cancer Causes and Control, 2: 427-442. Tucker, K., Selhub, J., Wilson, P. & Rosenberg, I. 1996. Dietary pattern relates to plasma folate and homocysteine concentrations in the Framingham Heart Study. Journal of Nutrition, 126: 3025-3031. United States National Academy of Sciences, Food and Nutrition Board. 1989. Diet and health: implications for reducing chronic disease risk. Washington, DC, National Academy Press. United States National Academy of Sciences, Food and Nutrition Board. 1990. Recommended dietary allowances. Washington, DC, National Academy Press. Tenth ed. USDA. 1996. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Washington, DC, Government Printing Office. USDA. 1997. World Horticultura; trade and US export. Washington, DC. Whitney, E. & Rolfes, S. 1999. Understanding nutrition. Belmont, Ca., USA, West/Wadsworth. Eighth ed. (ed. W. Rolfes).
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