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Citrus Flavonoids: How They Impact Cardiovascular And Metabolic Health

Your body needs complete nourishment to function well. Nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, fiber, calcium, protein, and much more is vital for the body to stay healthy. Many of these nutrients are found to be naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, for instance, are well-known for being a rich source of vitamin C. Another great way to boost your intake is by consuming a vitamin C supplement. But did you know that citrus fruits have much more to offer than vitamin C? Citrus flavonoids are an important group of antioxidants in citrus fruits. 

This article explores the beneficial effects of citrus flavonoids on health, specifically their role in preserving cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Citrus Flavonoids: An Introduction

Flavonoids are a highly effective compound you can find in various vegetables and fruits. A group of critical secondary metabolites, flavonoids, can be found in a variety of plants. Researchers have isolated as many as 6000 different chemicals that are related to flavonoids. 

Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that flavonoids participate in significant ways in certain physiological processes. Flavonoids also display a diverse array of potentially beneficial pharmaceutical properties for human health, including anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidant activities, as well as an inhibitory effect on blood clot formation. Dietary intake is still considered the primary source of flavonoids for human beings, and flavonoids can be found in most fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Citrus fruits include a variety of potentially bioactive compounds in their peels, pulp, seeds, and juice. Flavonoids extracted from citrus fruits have been the subject of research for years. Citrus flavonoids found in citrus fruits come with several health benefits. Common citrus flavonoids include Hesperidin, Naringin, Narirutin, Didymin, Eriocitrin, Diosmin, Diosmetin, Naringenin, Neohesperidin, Nobiletin, Tangeretin, Rutin, and Eriodictyol.

Research shows the role they play in promoting cardiovascular health, metabolism, healthy aging, and insulin sensitivity.  Being powerful antioxidants, they prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc in the body, thereby positively impacting various aspects of health. When oxygen levels are too high or too low, cells will react and produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are known for being carcinogenic. Citrus flavonoids reduce the production of ROS, and the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Citrus Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the most fatal diseases in the world today. WHO reports that in 2019, the CVD-induced death toll was at 17.9 million, accounting for a whopping 32% of all deaths in the world. Moreover, 85% of these fatalities were a result of cardiac arrest and stroke. In order to avoid such dire effects on life, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle and support it with the right food, exercise, and avoiding harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol. 

The right nutrition goes a long way in supporting good health too. Research states that citrus bioflavonoids have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Maintaining a diet that is rich in flavonoids has been observed to have a protective effect on cardiovascular health. It is interesting to note that in people at risk of chronic diseases due to heavy smoking and drinking, the protective effect was stronger. 

Citrus Flavonoids and Metabolic Health

Metabolic health, in the larger sense, refers to the efficiency with which our bodies generate and process energy. Glucose is one of the key precursors for energy production in the body. For metabolism to function properly, glucose levels need to be strictly controlled. An individual's metabolic health can be enhanced by making consistent choices that help maintain glucose levels within a normal and healthy range and reduce big swings in glucose levels.

These choices can include selecting foods that do not cause large spikes in glucose, exercising, coping with stress better, consuming nutritious food, getting quality sleep, and staying away from toxins in the environment that disrupt metabolic function. There is a correlation between poor metabolic health and impaired brain function, energy levels, memory, mood, skin health, fertility, and the risk of developing chronic diseases.

This is where citrus flavonoids help. In their paper, "Beneficial Effects of Citrus Flavonoids on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health," the researchers have pointed out, “Citrus flavonoids scavenge free radicals, improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, modulate lipid metabolism and adipocyte differentiation, suppress inflammation and apoptosis, and improve endothelial dysfunction.” They further indicate the overall positive impact of citrus flavonoids on metabolic health. 

Other Health Benefits Of Citrus Flavonoids

It has been demonstrated that citrus bioflavonoids, combined with vitamin C, can more effectively neutralize free radicals. It further leads to improved implications on cognitive health, respiratory health, the immune system, joint health, metabolism, vascular integrity, and cholesterol. While taking your Vitamin C supplement regularly brings multiple health benefits, it combined effect with citrus bioflavonoids is likely to be more effective. 

Aging is considered to be one of the important factors in chronic diseases. Citrus bioflavonoids are associated with anti-aging properties. According to studies, “flavonoids can delay aging and prolong a healthy lifespan by eliminating senescent cells, inhibiting senescence-related secretion phenotypes (SASPs), and maintaining metabolic homeostasis.”

To maintain healthy levels of citrus flavonoids in the body, eating a wide variety of citrus fruits is best. Notably, they are extremely adaptable, making them great components for use in food, beverages, and nutritional supplements. Consuming such supplements can have a positive impact on your health.