I only have one clear citrus-related memory from when I was a kid: The consumption of orange slices during halftime at the soccer games I was coerced into playing until I finally rebelled around the age of 12 and happily retreated into the basement to watch reruns of The Cosby Show. (But I digress.) It turns out that those sweet little slices weren’t just good for my chubby little childhood body. Recent studies have shown that consuming a serving of citrus fruit every day can help ward off all kinds of age-related maladies.
According to a recent story by Leslie Beck in The Globe and Mail, eating more oranges and grapefruit can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancers, macular degeneration and cognitive impairment. The magical properties of these sweetly sectioned fruits is thanks to their flavonoid content; flavonoids are bioactive compounds, and they can be found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried beans and lentils, cocoa, tea and red wine. The flavonoids in oranges and grapefruit – called flavanones – have also been linked to healthier brain cells, strengthened blood vessels and reduced inflammation. And in addition to flavanones, citrus fruit also contains important doses of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, thiamine, calcium, magnesium and fibre.
Beck recommends having at least one piece of citrus fruit per day to yield the health benefits. And while it might be tempting to rely on the ol’ brunch-time Mimosa to maximize your orange intake, your best bet is to eat a piece of whole fruit, fibre and all.