Meet the new brain food — citrus fruit! This latest health news comes on the heels of a new study that says citrus fruits contain special nutrients that could protect your brain from damage. It all has to do with citrus’ ability to act as an antioxidant.
Why are healing foods that have a high antioxidant rating so important to your health? Antioxidants help to combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is that process in which free radicals build up in your cells. This usually happens just as your cells are converting nutrients into energy. The free radicals damage different parts of your cells just like rust will attack and slowly spread through the metal on your car.
The good news in all of this is that free radicals can be counteracted by antioxidants. The trick for you is to make sure you have enough antioxidants in your body to hunt down free radicals before they can accumulate and cause damage (To find out more about healthy foods and reducing free radical damage, read the article The Free-radical Scavenging Acai Berry).
Now — back to citrus fruit and its neuroprotective effects in the brain. Oxidative stress is associated with many diseases, including brain degenerative disorders. Researchers have discovered that one particular group of antioxidants called “flavonoids” are particularly good at protecting the brain from oxidative stress. And citrus flavonoids, which exert little adverse effect and have low or no cytotoxicity to healthy, normal cells, can actually cross the blood-brain barrier, making them all the more effective.
To add some citrus fruits to your diet and to get some brain protection, try eating these three fruits every week:
1. Oranges. One orange nets you about 100% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is the main water-soluble antioxidant in your body, disarming free radicals, and preventing damage in the watery liquid both inside and outside your cells.
2. Limes. Limes contain special flavonoids called “flavonol glycosides.” Not only are these flavonoids powerful antioxidants that help stop free radical damage, but they also potentially have the power to stop cancer cells from dividing and spreading.
3. Grapefruit. Not only are grapefruits high in free-radical-scavenging vitamin C, but they also contain a healthy dose of lycopene. Among all the dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the greatest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals in your brain cells and elsewhere.