Citrus Fruits May Help Prevent Obesity and Strokes

Studies have shown that citrus fruits are even healthier for us than we might think. In addition to providing essential vitamins, the flavanones in these fruits also help fight obesity, heart disease and liver disease. It sounds like it's time for an orange...
Citrus Fruits May Help Prevent Obesity and Strokes
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

We all know that citrus fruits are healthy. We consume them in juices, naturally and combined in many of our everyday dishes.

Something that we may not know, however, is that oranges and lemons are highly recommended when it comes to preventing obesity and other ailments.

They also support liver and heart health. We obtain all these advantages thanks to the components in these fruits. Today we want to talk about a specific one, they’re called flavanones.

We know you’ll enjoy learning about some of the extra benefits of this delicious type of fruit. However, there’s something important to keep in mind: always look for organic pesticide-free citrus fruits.

This is the best way to get the most out of the natural treasure of citrus.

Eat citrus fruits and reap the health benefits

At the last meeting of the American Society of Health and Chemistry held in August 2016, an interesting study was presented on the benefits of citrus fruits when it comes to heart and liver disease.

This study has been published in several scientific journals. Now, the information that many people were already aware of has been complemented with new facts.

One thing is certain: citrus fruits are even more important for our health than we previously thought.

Oranges and lemons could help regulate body fat

Nowadays, obesity is a public health problem. Not maintaining a healthy weight means raising the risk of developing certain heart diseases, liver problems, and diabetes.

Girl measuring her waist

Obesity raises oxidative stress and inflammation. Therefore, it triggers a series of reactions that are very dangerous for our health. Here are just a few:

  • Having abundant deposits of fat cells is a serious problem for our health that we must combat as soon as possible.
  • Eating “less” is not the solution. We should eat well. Taking care of the type of food we put in our dishes is even more important than the quantity we eat.

One crucial part of a balanced diet is citrus fruits. Here’s some reasons why they’re so important:

  • Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges or grapefruits contain large amounts of antioxidants. Among them, the most powerful are flavanones.
  • Citrus flavanones could help us reduce the oxidative stress caused by excess fat. If we consume citrus regularly, these deposits will be less resistant.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that drinking lemon juice will not make you lose weight immediately. What it actually does is make it easier for us to lose weight, because the fat in our body is no longer so “compact.” Fat nodules are weaker.

Citrus fruits also favor liver functions. They may help reduce blood sugar levels, therefore allowing us to prevent abdominal obesity.

 Flavonones found in citrus fruits reduce strokes in women

Strokes are another major public health risk today. And they have a very high incidence in women.

Although we can’t prevent all strokes from occurring, we can reduce the number of strokes that occur by consuming more citrus fruits.

This is because they contain flavanones, which help us reduce the risk of stroke by almost 19%. Flavonones do this by preventing the formation of clots and, above all, by helping to keep brain blood vessels in good condition.

  • A study published in the journal LiveScience showed that women who consumed oranges, lemons, and grapefruit daily were up to 19% less likely to have an ischemic stroke.
  • Nevertheless, those in charge of this study warned of something important: avoid consuming commercial juices since they contain added sugars and are not healthy.
  • We should always eat natural fruits. If we limit ourselves to packaged juices, we increase the risk of becoming overweight and suffering from diabetes.
  • The best thing is to eat whole fruits and not products made from them.

Eat the “white part” of citrus

The secret to the many benefits of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges is the white part of the fruit. It’s what is known as the albedo and, interestingly enough, it’s the first thing we discard.

Don’t throw it out! If you want to benefit from the positive properties of flavanones, then you must also consume the albedo. It brings countless  benefits:

  • Besides the possibility of preventing obesity or strokes, flavanones may be an aid in the fight against colon and breast cancer.
  • This antioxidant favors venous and arterial circulation thanks to its anti-aggregating and vaso-dilating properties.
Different types of citrus fruits

So, remember, if you eat oranges, then you should peel them and eat them with the white skin that surrounds them.

On the other hand, if you want to eat lemons, don’t hesitate to make a ‘frozen lemon’.

  • You only have to freeze a few lemons. Then, every time you prepare a smoothie, a salad or a bowl of natural fruit,  you just have to take out the lemon to grate it.
  • This is how you can take advantage of the whole piece of fruit, including the peel, the fruit itself and the albedo.

In conclusion, it’s best to maintain a balanced diet to take care of your well-being and to prevent diseases. Eating wisely and conscientiously is key to being healthy. Also, remember that you should always choose organic citrus fruits.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • American Chemical Society. “Citrus fruits could help prevent obesity-related heart disease, liver disease, diabetes”. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2016. .
  • Nibbs, AE; Scheidt, KA (2012). «Asymmetric Methods for the Synthesis of Flavanones, Chromanones, and Azaflavanones». European journal of organic chemistry 2012 (3): 449-462.
  • Citrus fruits lower women’s stroke risk. Live Sciene. 2012. [Online] Avaiable at:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.