Citrus Fruits: Sun-Kissed Disease Fighters

Citrus County, Florida, may well be one of the healthiest places in the world to live. Oranges, grapefruits and tangerines all grow abundantly  in this neck of the woods-basking in the fierce white sun, the intense humidity and the loving appreciation of thousands of winter residents who can step outside from December through March to pick one of nature’s most therapeutic gifts.

“Citrus fruits are packed with natural substances that may prevent cancer, reduce allergy symptoms and help protect the heart”, says John Attaway, Ph.D., director of scientific research.

Most notably, all citrus, from the odd little kumquat to the common lemon or lime, is loaded with vitamin C. This nutrient is known for its ability to neutralize potentially cancer-causing free radicals-those destructive oxygen molecules formed in the body by anything from normal metabolism and infection to cigarette smoke and pollution.

Studies have shown that vitamin C may protect against cancers of the larynx, mouth, throat, pancreas, stomach, breast and lung. But cancer is not the only disease citrus can fight. I can protect against heart attack, lower risk of stroke and prevent allergy symptoms.

Grapefruits may slow the progression of heart disease as well s of a serious vision problem linked to diabetes.  One study at the University of Florida indicates that as little as half a grapefruit-pink, red or white- a day may be able to prevent the overly aggressive clumping together of red blood cells that may jam arteries and lead to heart attacks, strokes and blindness that comes from diabetes.

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