The citrus fruits are a large group of fruits classified as yell0w/orange in my book What Color Is Your Diet? Citrus is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs including oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes. Citrus is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and prior to agriculture there were only a few species including the pomelo ( similar to grapefruit), the mandarin orange, and the citron which looks like a lemon and is used in the Jewish harvest festival Sukkoth which is the precursor of Thanksgiving. According to Citrus experts at the University of California, Riverside all of the varieties, hybrids, and cultivars in the food supply are derived by crossing these three species.
Citrus fruits are famous for their content of Vitamin C. A single orange has more than enough prevent vitamin C deficiency known as Scurvy. British sailors would eat citrus to prevent Scurvy in the 1700’s which is why they were sometimes called “Limeys”. The peel or zest of the fruit can be shaved and added to beverages and shakes to add limonoids such as geraniol and limonene. These fat soluble phytonutrients are added to orange juice by manufacturers to enhance a “fresh squeezed” taste. They also have powerful biological properties and affect cholesterol synthesis within cells and effects on cancer cells in the laboratory.