It’s Valentine’s Day which is a good day to love your heart, and new research shows there’s no better way to love your heart than eating fresh Florida oranges and Florida grapefruit. Nutritionists have promoted the heart-healthy benefits of Florida citrus fruit for some time, but new research indicates that scientists are only beginning to understand the full scope of those benefits.
We already know that adding fresh Florida oranges and Florida grapefruit to your daily diet can help reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol, but the latest research shows that it can also prevent heart failure. The magical heart-healthy ingredient in Florida citrus fruit is pectin. A soluble fiber, pectin attracts the cholesterol in the food you eat and blocks its absorption into the blood stream. The high potassium content in Florida oranges and Florida grapefruit also helps control blood pressure by counteracting the effects of salt.
Most recently, researchers have discovered that citrus pectin can be instrumental in preventing congestive heart failure. The pectin found in the pulp and pith of Florida oranges and Florida grapefruit neutralizes galectin-3, a protein that causes heart tissue to scar, eventually leading to congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is an eventually fatal progressive illness that does not respond well to drug therapy. More than 20% of Americans have high galectin-3, placing them at increased risk of developing congestive heart failure. A diet rich in fresh, whole Florida citrus fruit can help lower that risk.