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What are citrus fruits juice?

Citrus fruits are some of the most popular and widely consumed fruits in the world. They are well known for their refreshing, tangy taste and the burst of vitamin C they provide. Citrus fruits can be made into a variety of juices, which provide a tasty and nutritious beverage option. Let’s take a closer look at what citrus fruits are, the most common types used for juicing, and the health benefits their juices can offer.

What are citrus fruits?

Citrus fruits belong to the Rutaceae family and are characterized by their juicy segments, vibrant peel and pulp, and the productive citrus trees they grow on. There are many different types of citrus fruits, but some of the most common varieties used for juicing include:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tangerines
  • Mandarins

Citrus fruits have a juicy pulp that is rich in citric acid, which gives them their sour, tart taste. They also contain many beneficial plant compounds like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many citrus fruits are easy to peel and segment into wedges, making them simple to juice and extract all their flavor and nutrition.

Most common citrus fruits for juicing

Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are among the most popular citrus fruits used for making juice. Here’s an overview of each type:


Oranges are one of the most widely consumed citrus fruits in the world. There are several main types of oranges used for juicing:

  • Navel oranges – sweet, seedless, and named after the navel-like formation opposite the stem
  • Valencia oranges – thin-skinned, juicy, and used for most commercial orange juice
  • Blood oranges – have a red flesh and juice from anthocyanin pigments

Orange juice is nutrient rich, delivering a dose of vitamin C, folate, potassium, and antioxidant compounds like carotenoids and flavonoids. It has a bright, refreshing taste and aroma.


Grapefruits are larger, more acidic citrus fruits with a bittersweet and sour taste. There are white, pink, and red varieties. Grapefruit juice provides vitamin C, potassium, lycopene, and other beneficial plant compounds. It has a tangy, tropical flavor.


Lemons have bright yellow skin and tart, acidic juice inside. Lemon juice contains vitamin C, potassium, folate, and plant compounds like limonins. It has a strong, sour taste that adds flavor when added to other juices.


Limes are small, green citrus fruits with very sour, acidic juice. Lime juice is rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and phytochemicals. It is extremely tart but adds a revitalizing flavor when added to juices or cocktails.

Nutrition in citrus juices

All citrus fruit juices provide a range of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that offer health benefits. Here are some of the key nutrients found in citrus juices:

Nutrient Key Benefits
Vitamin C Powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and nutrient absorption
Potassium Electrolyte that regulates fluid balance and nerve signaling
Folate B vitamin that assists in new cell and DNA formation
Carotenoids Antioxidants like beta-carotene that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress
Flavonoids Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant plant compounds that may protect cells

Citrus juices are also very low in calories and fat, making them a healthy beverage choice.

Health benefits of citrus juices

Drinking citrus juices offers many potential health benefits. Here are some of the top ways citrus juices may boost your health:

Supply antioxidant vitamins

Citrus fruits are packed with antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and contain carotenoids like beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress on cells.

Support heart health

Compounds in citrus juices like hesperidin and naringin are linked to improved blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, which promotes heart health. Citrus juices also provide potassium, an important electrolyte for heart function.

Bolster immunity

The vitamin C content in citrus juice supports a healthy immune system. Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells, antibodies, and other components involved in immune defense.

Improve digestion

Citric acid and bioactive compounds in citrus fruits may have digestive benefits. They can act as stimulants for digestive juices like saliva and stomach acid to improve digestion.

Support kidney health

Studies show citrus juices like lemon juice may help prevent kidney stone formation. This is thought to be related to citrate and potassium content helping block stone-forming calcium salts.

Promote weight loss

Replacing high-calorie beverages like soda and juice with low-calorie citrus juices can support weight loss goals. Citrus juices provide satiety from water and fiber yet typically have under 100 calories per serving.

Help lower inflammation

Antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids found in citrus juices exhibit anti-inflammatory activities. They can help reduce inflammatory molecules throughout the body.

Potential downsides of citrus juices

While citrus juices have many benefits, there are a few potential downsides to consider as well:

  • High sugar content if not 100% juice – Added sugars increase calorie content.
  • May irritate sensitive teeth – Acidity can wear down enamel over time.
  • Acidic for those with GI issues – The acidity can provoke symptoms in reflux, ulcers, IBS, etc.
  • Not as fibrous as whole fruit – Juices lack the filling fiber of whole citrus pieces.
  • Oxalates may interact with some medications – Grapefruit juice specifically can interact with several common medications.

Drinking citrus juices in moderation and opting for low-sugar, unsweetened varieties can help overcome some of these issues.

Tips for making citrus juices

It’s easy to make fresh, nutritious citrus juices at home. Here are some tips for juicing citrus fruits:

  • Roll citrus fruits before juicing to maximize the juice you extract.
  • Use a reamer, hand press, or electric citrus juicer for juice extraction.
  • Juice citrus fruits at room temperature for optimum juice flow.
  • Strain juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove excess pulp if desired.
  • Mix different citrus juices like orange and grapefruit to create flavor blends.
  • Add lemon, lime, or orange juice to sparkling water for a refreshing beverage.
  • Sweeten juices moderately with honey, agave, or stevia if desired.
  • Store fresh juices in an airtight container and drink within a few days.

Incorporating citrus juices into your diet

It’s simple to use citrus juices to boost the nutrition in your diet. Here are some easy ways to enjoy citrus juices daily:

  • Drink a glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice at breakfast.
  • Mix fresh lemon or lime juice into water for flavor throughout the day.
  • Use citrus juices instead of vinegar in salad dressings or marinades.
  • Include a citrus juice like lemonade with a meal to help absorb iron from plant foods.
  • Blend citrus juices into smoothies along with yogurt, frozen fruit, and spinach or kale.
  • Drizzle lemon juice over roasted vegetables, grains, or seafood dishes before serving.

Sipping on sweet-tart citrus juices is an easy and tasty way to add more nutrients and plant compounds into your eating pattern.


Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes make nutritious and refreshing juices. Citrus juices provide a range of health benefits from their antioxidant vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical content. Drinking citrus juices in moderation can support immunity, heart health, weight loss, and more. Squeezing fresh citrus juices at home is simple and allows you to control the ingredients. Adding citrus juices to water, smoothies, dressings, and meals gives a bright pop of flavor and nutrition.