Heart-Smart Citrus Fruit

When you want to squeeze every bit of flavor—and a good dose of antioxidants—out of winter fruits, reach for an orange, grapefruit, lemon, or tangerine. They’re no slouches in nutrition, either. Splash some juice or toss a handful of chopped fruit over a salad, or even into a dessert, and you’ll get a boost of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the body’s cells resist damage. In fact, the antioxidants in citrus may play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.

A small study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported a 15 percent drop in cholesterol in patients who ate one red grapefruit a day. The patients had recently undergone heart bypass surgery. A 2007 study—this one on rats—showed that a citrus-based diet reduced cholesterol levels by
20–25 percent, even though the rats were munching on foods loaded with cholesterol.

It’s easy to make citrus work for you. Reach for citrus fruits instead of fat- and sugar-laden snacks. One orange provides nearly all the daily vitamin C a healthy person needs.


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