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Monday, July 1, 2013

Essay on Phytonutrients

INSTRUCTIONS:  What are they? Where are they located in the orange?.What are the levels?  health benefits? Are there any Toxic effects of consuming too much?Which are more bitter? Taste good or bad? Interest in knowing in more detail about citrus limonin and citrus hesperidin.

Essay on Orange (Citrus) Phytonutrients
            In order to grow and maintain our health, we need to consume different organic compounds (carbon-containing compounds that can be found in the system of living organism) such as carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. These are needed by our body to provide energy and maintain our system. For our system to acquire these needed chemicals, we consume different types of foods (meat, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, etc.). Food products are our fuel to go on in our everyday lives. We need to have a balance diet, to obtain these different chemicals (nutrients) in their required level. Remember that all that in excess and in deficient level is bad and thus, have its corresponding consequences to our body. Another chemical that are not essential (needed or required) by our body but have a protective effect on our health is called phytonutrients.

 Phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals, are bioactive chemicals that we can consume which have protective effects on our health (Edelstein, 293). “Phyto” is a Latin word for plants, thus phytonutrients or phytochemicals are found in plant foods (vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, legumes, spices, and herbs) (Radak, 293). There are thousands of phytonutrients present in plant products. 

Some of the health benefits of phytonutrients are that they act as antioxidants and also some have cancer-preventing properties (Radak, 293). Thus, eating fruits and vegetables has ample benefits for us. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables able us to acquire different phytonutrients and each phytonutrients have their corresponding health benefits (anti-aging, heart disease prevention, immune defense booster and more) (Lipman, 1). Raw vegetables have higher phytonutrients content relative to processed or cooked counterpart, with the exception of broccoli and garlic, as food preparation affects the phytonutrient level (Lipman, 1). Raw or fresh vegetables are better since, vitamins and enzymes present is not breakdown due to cooking (the heat) (Haas and James, 10). Phytonutrients are not classified as drugs thus, it has no toxicity. 

These are some phytonutrients and group of phytonutrients present in plant foods (WebMD, 1):
(1)   Carotenoids, they are found in bright yellow, orange and red plants. They act as antioxidants which eliminates free radicals that can harm our body. Some examples of this group of phytonutrients are lycopene, carotene, and lutein.
(2)   Ellagic acids are phytonutrients found in berries (i.e. Strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates) which help prevent cancer.
(3)   Flavonoids, found in various plant foods (i.e. Apple, berries, grapes, onion).  They have a variety of health benefits: help reduce risk of asthma, cancer and coronary heart diseases.
(4)   Resveratol, phytonutrients that can be found in grapes, which can have a health benefit of acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
(5)   Glucosinolates, phytonutrients that can be found in vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli, which can hold cancer growth and development.
(6)   Phytoestrogens, phytonutrients that can be found in soy and soy products, which can behave like estrogen (a hormone) and having the effect of lowering the risk of bone loss in women and lowering risk of endometrial cancer.

Orange (Citrus Sinensis) fruit is a plant-based food that contains different phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are citrus flavonnes, anthocyanins, hydroxiginnamic acids, variety of polyphenols (Vitamedica. 1). Also it contains oxalate, flavonoid, tannin, saponin and phytate (Oluremi et al., 2). This makes oranges consumption beneficial to us, humans. In oranges, there are total of 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 of these are flavonoids (Vitamedica, 1). And flavonoids help reduce cancer and other diseases. Tangeretin, Nobiletin, and Sinensetin flavones are bitter phytonutrients, which may act through bactericidal activity and makes the oranges unpalatable, which are found in oranges (Drewnowski and Gomez-Carneros, 8). The tangeretin and nobiletin are concentrated in the peel of the oranges (Drewnowski and Gomez-Carneros, 4).

Hesperidin, a flavonoids phytonutrients that can be found in oranges, is possibly the most important and predominantflavonoids present in oranges (, 1). The highest concentration of hesperidin is found to be in the peel and membranous parts of oranges (Kingherbs, 1). Orange juice that was freshly made or orange juice that has pulp has a high concentration of hesperidin (Sahelian, 1). Benefit from this phytonutrient is its anti-inflammatory properties and its interference with arachidonic acid metabolism and histamine release (kingherbs, 1).

Citrus limonin, a triterpene limonoid aglycone, is another phytonutrients that can be found in oranges, which is a bitter phytonutrient that causes the delayed bitterness of citrus juices (Drewnowski and Gomez-Carneros, 4). This is the predominant limonoid phytonutrient found in citrus fruits, including oranges (Chongging Trust Long Co., 1). Limonin is studied as an inhibitor for cancer, experiments are carried out and it is found out it is an inhibitor of chemical carcinogens (cancer producing). It has an antinociceptive (pain reduction and anti-inflammatory effects.

Works Cited
Drewnowski, Adam and Carmen Gomez-Carneros. "Bitter Taste, Phytonutrients, and the
Consumer: a Review." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72 (2000): 1424-1435
Edelstein, Sari. Food Science: An Ecological Approach. New York: Jones & Bartlett Learning,
Hass, Elson M. and Patty James. More Vegetables, Please! Oakland: New Harbinger, 2009.
"Hesperidin." Kingherbs Inc. 1 July 2013. <>
Lipman, Frank. "What are Phytonutrients?" 1 July 2013. <
"Oranges." The World's Healthiest Foods. 1 July 2013.
"Oranges." VitaMedica. 1 July 2013. <>
"Phytonutrients." WebMD. 1 July 2013. <>
Radak, Tim DrPH. "Phytonutrients." Food Science: An Ecological Approach. New York: Jones
& Bartlett Learning, 2012.
Sahelian, Ray M.D. "Hesperidin Found in Oranges and Lemons." 1 July 2013.

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