Sure, your morning glass of O.J. tastes great, but did you know it’s also packed with body-healing, belly-flattening phytonutrients that can help you look and feel your best? It’s true! Consuming plenty of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, can actually boost your metabolism and power up your weight loss.
How does it work? The vitamin C in citrus fruits boosts the synthesis of an amino acid (carnitine) that shuttles fatty acids to cells to be used as fuel. In a study at Johns Hopkins, this effect increased fat-burning enough to help subjects shed 20 pounds in 13 weeks without any other diet changes.
Reduce your blood sugar.
Enjoying a citrus-spiked sip can reduce energy-sapping blood-sugar fluctuations by 64 percent, according to research in the journal PLOS ONE. Credit goes to a flavonoid in the fruit (called naringenin) that improves cells’ sensitivity to the blood sugar– regulating hormone insulin.
Fuel belly-flattening fat burn.
Nobiletin, a flavonoid in these sweet-tart fruits, has been shown to switch on genes responsible for burning excess fat. The result: Canadian researchers found that subjects on a nobiletin-rich diet gained 87 percent less weight on a high-fat diet than those who did not get the nutrient.
Try these refreshing recipes to harness the belly-flattening power of citrus and sip your way to slim!
Ruby Red Energizer
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
- 1 cup seltzer
In a glass, muddle rosemary and juice; add seltzer. Makes 2 servings. Bonus: Volatile oils in rosemary improve memory by 75 percent.
- 1⁄2 cup lime juice
- 2 Tbs. agave syrup
- 2 sprigs fresh mint
- 1 thin slice ginger
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 2 cups tonic water
Muddle lime juice, agave, mint and ginger; strain into glasses. Add crushed ice, then tonic water. If desired, garnish with lime wedges. Makes 2 servings. Bonus: Compounds in ginger double the production of virus-fighting proteins.
- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 mini cucumber, shaved into ribbons
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 2 cups club soda
Muddle lemon juice, honey and fennel seeds; strain into glasses. Add cucumber ribbons and ice. Top with soda. Makes 2 servings. Bonus: Fennel seeds calm GI spasms that cause gas and bloat.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.