Citrus fruits are always considered as an inevitable part of a nutritious and tasty diet. Citrus flavours are highly appreciated both by children and adults. Citrus fruits are abundant in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
These nutritious elements are extremely important for the healthy functioning of the body. The non-nutrient components present in citrus fruits, called phytochemicals, are found to decrease the risk of many chronic ailments.
Citrus is known for their abundant reserves of vitamin C. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), present in citrus fruits is an essential water-soluble vitamin. It helps in the formation of collagen, a primary component of much of the connective body tissues. Adequate synthesis of collagen is essential for the maintenance of ligaments, skin, blood vessels, tendons, etc. Vitamin C is also found to favour the absorption of inorganic iron. This factor makes it an essential component in the treatment of anaemia and stress.
However, like most other whole foods, citrus fruits also contain many other important nutrients, including both glycaemic and non-glycaemic carbohydrate, folate, vitamin B6, phosphorus, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a wide variety of phytochemicals. Citrus fruits are rich in their mineral content as well. The list of minerals present in citrus includes potassium, calcium, thiamine, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, copper etc.
Another beneficial aspect of citrus is that it contains neither fat nor sodium. Being a plant product, it is absolutely devoid of cholesterol as well. The average energy value of fresh citrus fruits is also found to be lower. That is why citrus fruits such as orange and lemon find place of prominence in the diet prescribed for obese people.
Carbohydrate, the source of energy in citrus fruits, is present in the form of sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose. Citric acid also contributes a small amount of energy. Citrus fruits are also an excellent source of non-starch polysaccharides, which are commonly known as dietary fibre.