I’ve been working on a super cool project lately. I’m not ready to give away the details just yet, but I cannot contain some of the amazing things I am finding. My early mornings have been filled with research while my kids are still tucked in their beds. It’s my favorite part of the day, and probably most productive in my writing. As I begin this post, I am just finishing a glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice. There are some events in life that always bring a smile to my face no matter how often I experience them: seeing my kids wake up in the morning (actually just about anything that has to do with my kids), watching a sunrise or a sunset, and cutting open a grapefruit or orange.
Not so surprisingly, the citrus fruits are packed with phytonutrients that are great for our body and spirit. Just the aroma of citrus fruits is a natural mood lifter. It’s no wonder that the pharmaceutical companies are pouring millions if not billions of dollars into research of the specific nutrients in citrus fruits so they can be used in drugs. Unfortunately, when nutrients are isolated from whole foods and manufactured into drugs, scientists cannot predict how our bodies will respond. While I’m sure there are many great advances in medical technology that has saved thousands of lives, the Pure Home and Body site is dedicated to discovering the benefits of all things natural, pure, whole. Unchanged from a natural state. If you haven’t seen my PHB manifesto, I invite you to check it out to see what my mission is here at Pure Home and Body.
Citrus fruits hold a powerhouse of benefits. In whole form, grapefruits, oranges, lemons, are good for the body. Essential oils are powerful, concentrated forms of the fruit, expeller pressed from the rind so there are different nutrients in fresh squeezed citrus juice than in an essential oil. Orange oil, for example, has been researched against cancer cells, may dissolve petrochemicals, but is gentle enough to digest and nourish the body. Keep in mind that grapefruit does interact with many drugs, so if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, do not consume grapefruit without talking to your doctor first and getting the OK. I know there are many skeptics out there about the whole foods movement, I have some in my own family. Many people know that they feel better if they consume fruits and vegetable, but the buck stops there. So here are some awesome benefits and practical ways to incorporate citrus fruits into your healthy lifestyle, mind-body-spirit. If you’re ready to consume, check out these great benefits that are all backed by research (see references below).
Weight Loss Grapefruit has been in the media for decades, but the science is proving it now. Some of the latest research found in one study that individuals who consumed 1/2 a grapefruit with each meal for 6 weeks had a significant drop in body fat and cholesterol. This was compared to another group that ate the same foods minus the grapefruit. This was not an extreme diet of eating only grapefruit and starving your body, this was just adding grapefruit to an already sensible diet. Promising.
Digestion Citrus fruits support healthy digestion. While most people think of citrus fruits as acidic, once they are digested they become more alkaline and actually help to break down foods in the intestinal tract. I like to start my day with a warm glass of water with fresh lemon juice squeezed in. This wakes up the digestive tract, gently cleanses the liver and purifies the intestines. To soothe the gallbladder, drink a tonic made from 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon or 1/2 a grapefruit. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice has shown promise in protecting the body from heavy metal contamination like cadmium. Food grade essential oils have been tested against powerful food borne bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria. Add citrus fruits and food grade essential oils to support a healthy immune system. I like to add food grade essential oils to my drinking water (glass or stainless steel cup, don’t use plastic or it will be dissolved by the oils, yuk!). Look for a company that makes verified, Therapeutic food grade essential oils that are safe to ingest and tested for any impurities or additives. One drop will flavor 16 ounces of water.
Depression All of the citrus fruits may boost your mood just by smelling them. Lemon essential oil has been studied extensively for it’s anti-depressive benefits and shown potential of reducing stress levels. When citrus aromas are breathed in, they immediately enter the bloodstream and easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Essential oils in particular help deliver oxygen to the brain and have a positive impact on the limbic region of the brain that affects mood. Since most of the dangers of drug interaction with grapefruit appear as toxicity with liver enzyme production and drug synthesis in the body, breathing in the aroma of the fruits may be a safe way to receive the benefits of citrus without side effects for those on prescription or over the counter drugs. Talk with your doctor about using essential oils. Diffuse essential oils into the air and breathe deeply. Don’t burn essential oils in a potpourri burner or other flame as the high heat can change the chemical structure of the essential oils and lessen the anti-depressant qualities.
Healthy Circulation Citrus flavonoids support healthy circulation health in a couple of ways. They have shown in some research to decrease the platelets ability to clot in the blood, and they may prevent LDL’s from oxidizing which may help with cholesterol levels. There are at least 8 different citrus components that have been isolated in research for heart health. Eat the whole fruits and you’ll get them all in balanced and proportionate quantities that your body can identify and process to support a healthy body.
Skin Health Citrus fruits are naturally anti-microbial, making them effective against skin issues like acne and fungal infections. Citrus oils can lighten the skin, lemon the most effective. Citrus essential oils and juices can make your skin sensitive to the sun, so if you apply them to the skin make sure to avoid sun exposure 12 hours after.
Healthy Immune Function oranges rank highest for attacks on cancer cells. Their nutrients have been researched against colon, prostate, melanoma, esophageal, uterine, lung, breast, urinary/bladder, leukemia and more. Oranges have also been researched as a protective component in chemotherapy and leukemia treatment.
Bacteria Defense While citrus fruits naturally fight germs, the essential oils from these fruits are even more powerful. Orange essential oil has even been studied against MRSA, anti-biotic resistant Staph infection.
Super Cell-Cleaners We know that oranges have powerful nutrients to support healthy bodies, but they are also effective at cleaning our cells. Orange essential oil has shown to be as powerful as toxic chloroform in dissolving root canal sealants. Chemical producers want to latch on to the power of citrus but with added chemicals. I think that people instinctively know that oranges are good for us. Manufacturers scent chemical laden products with an orange or citrus scent that confuses our senses. We are fooled into believing that the nice smelling product is good for us when it is just polluting our body with chemicals. Make sure that anything you use does not have the ingredient “fragrance” in it, which is just a combination of chemicals made to smell nice. All of these benefits are only from whole foods and pure essential oils, not imitation counterparts that just smell like the real deal. Read labels, know what you are putting into and on your body and add some fresh citrus or food grade oils to your diet and personal care routine.
Dow CA, Going SB, Chow HH, Patil BS, Thomson CA. The effects of daily consumption of grapefruit on body weight, lipids, and blood pressure in healthy, overweight adults. Metabolism. 2012 Jul;61(7):1026-35. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.12.004. Epub 2012 Feb 2.
Wattenberg, LW. Inhibition of carcinogenesis by naturally-occurring and synthetic compounds. Basic Life Sci. 1990;52:155-66.
Komori T, Fujiwara R, Tanida M, Nomura J, Yokoyama MM. Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states. . Neuroimmunomodulation. 1995 May-Jun;2(3):174-80
Jiao Shena, 1, Akira Niijimab, 1, Mamoru Tanidaa, 1, Yuko Horiia, Keiko Maedaa, Katsuya Nagaia. Olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394005001084Neuroscience Letters. Volume 380, Issue 3, 3 June 2005, Pages 289–294.
Shinichiro Haze1), Keiko Sakai1), Yoko Gozu1). Effects of Fragrance Inhalation on Sympathetic Activity in Normal Adults.
The Japanese Journal of Pharmacology. Vol. 90 (2002) No. 3 P 247-253. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jjp/90/3/90_3_247/_article
Masahiro Mori1,*, Norikazu Ikeda1, Yoshiko Kato1, Miki Minamino1 andKazuhito Watabe2. Inhibition of elastase activity by essential oils in vitro. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Volume 1, Issue 4, pages 183–187, December 2002. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2002.00059.x/abstract.
Promise against MRSA in medical dressings http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22894560
Harvesting process of citrus to cold press for essential oils is directly related to it’s potency and antibacterial effectiveness in particular against MRSA http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22645427
Studied against E. coli http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22583064
Anti-inflammatory action in the nasal passages and upper respiratory system when diffused http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21752292
Significant improvement in studies with Alzheimer’s patients Rosemary & lemon in the morning, lavender & orange in the evening. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20377818
Effective against Campylobacter jejuni and ciprofloxacin-resistant bacteria http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20183064
Effectiveness of ability of oils to fight bacteria is directly related to their chemical structure : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18851678 Not all orange essential oils work the same against microbes.
Helpful with short term knee pain http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18534325
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. If you suffer from depression, cancer, obesity, or any other disease, seek the advice of a medical doctor.