If you don’t typically keep citrus fruits in your pantry, you may want to reconsider. Citrus fruits are an excellent way to get an instant pick-me-up on several levels. Unlike other fruits, such as bananas, citrus fruits often times will provide an instantaneous and noticeable difference in mood and energy levels.
While citrus fruits may taste better during certain times of the year, the great part is that they are always readily available here for purchase since we have several sunny states, most notably Florida, which can produce them year round. They also keep fairly well when kept in a temperature controlled environment, but still taste best when consumed within a few days to a week after purchase.
They are also an incredibly convenient and transportable food since they have heavy protective peels on them. This also helps to some degree to protect them from pesticides and chemicals if you do not buy organic (organic is still of course always the best option). That being said, let’s talk about why citrus fruits are such a powerful mood and energy boosting food.
The biggest nutritional reason behind their mood and energy boosting abilities is their high content and immediately bioavailable form of vitamin c. A deficiency of this vitamin, which much be replenished within the body on a daily basis, has been associated with irritability, depressive moods and generally low levels of energy. The instant burst of vitamin C that fruits like oranges and grapefruits provide are like a fast track antidote to reduced energy levels and blue mood.
The natural sugar content of these juicy, sweet fruits also provides an instantaneous energy boost. Grapefruits have an added benefit of controlling the blood sugar since they contain natural glucose stabilizers. Eating the whole fruit works best of course since you also get the added benefit of pulp and fiber, which helps to further control mood by keeping you feeling fuller longer.
Studies have shown that people who consume a whole grapefruit or a small glass of grapefruit juice with meals showed more stabilized blood sugar levels hours beyond the meal.
Eating citrus fruits is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming refined sugars. It can be especially helpful when consumed as an afternoon snack since this is around the time our energy ebbs and our bodies naturally start to crave a nap around this time. It helps to perk up not only your mood, but also helps to sharpen your focus and reawaken brain function.
The peels of citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines, lemons and grapefruit contain potently scented natural oils that release into the air when the peel is broken. The scent of citrus oils are a proven powerful mood booster alone.
Add to that the potent mood boosting effect of the instant release of large quantities of vitamin C, and you’ve got the perfect instant mood lifting food that addresses mood through more than just nutrition, but also through the sense of taste and smell.
Citrus fruits excite the senses of taste and smell
Simply tasting the bright, juicy and naturally sweet flavor of a fresh clementine, orange or grapefruit will send pleasure signals to the brain. The instant pleasure of the natural sugars help boost serotonin levels in the brain, and the scent of the citrus oils are potent nervous system stimulators – in a good way.
Studies have shown that merely the scent of most citrus fruit oils, which are contained within the peel and the scent of the pulp and fruit itself, are very stimulating to certain receptors in our nervous system and brains.
One study showed that lemon oil vapors suppressed anxiety responses in mice and lowered the chemical and brain reactions typically associated with stress and depression, suggesting strongly that inhaling these vapors may have the same effect on the human brain and nervous system.
Danna Norek founded AuraSensory.com, which offers a line of natural body, skin and hair care including a popular Natural Shine Enhancing Shampoo with oils of citrus fruits like sweet orange and grapefruit, and a Deep Hydration Silk Conditioner, as well as several other popular and effective products.
Sources for this article include: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16780969 http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/glucose-grapefruit-juice-3610.html