Can citrus fruits outperform certain aspects of mainstream meds?
Research and trials using orange and other citrus fruit juice and peels to treat diabetes, heart conditions, cholesterol imbalances and cancer. Wow!
Every part of an orange, lemon or grapefruit is medicinally active and none of it belongs in the trash can. There is no point in buying orange extracts, supplements or isolated chemicals because the health benefits will not be as abundant, effective or available as they are from the orange. Newer studies confirm that nutrient absorption is superior from the citrus fruits they are naturally found in. One can then benefit from all the biologically active phytonutrients they provide because they are synergistic. In this discussion we will focus on oranges because they are the easiest of the citrus fruits to use for baking and making tasty versions of citrus pulp. Oranges are cheap and delicious and now you can learn to appreciate their genius.
An orange a day keeps the brain free of heavy metals and inflammation
An orange has over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, many of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and blood clot inhibiting properties, as well as strong antioxidant effects. Their effects have been studied with applications for treating cancer and heart disease for many years. Recently the use of citrus fruit juices and skins for brain functions such as learning and memory are arousing a lot of interest. The ability od citrus pulp to remove heavy metals from the receptor sites of neurons is remarkable. Once the receptor is able to function normally, the uptake of serotonin and other neurotransmitters like dopamine is restored. The polyphenols in particular show a range of antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Before you bite into your oranges, please check with your doctor. When you eat medicinal foods (yes the kitchen is full of the stuff) some of the active phytochemicals exert the same effects as a prescribed medicine. I will point out most of these as we go along. This does not mean you always need to keep taking the drug and dropping the food. Some doctors (the ones who study nutrition and practise integrated medicine) are happy to help you wean off the drug and take the food item instead. I will provide some delicious recipes to make this process easier. The quantities you need are not excessive. You may already be experiencing unknown benefits from eating certain foods.
For instance, ginger is a natural blood thinner. A tiny sliver a day is all you need. So why take a drug with harmful side effects to do the same thing? Taking both will double the effect. At best, take a regular test and then you will see for yourself how well your dietary embellishments are working. Orange peel is a potent cholesterol balancer. It supports the beneficial type and lowers the lousy LDL cholesterol. But do not ditch your prescriptions all at once because the body needs time to adjust to a health protocol that is administered at a more conscious level. Food-based medicine, kitchen herbs and spices can mimic your medications – but without any adverse effects. A naturopath or doctor of integrated medicine can offer more supportive advice.Caution: please keep all forms of xylitol (a sugar substitute used in these recipes) away from your pets.
The bitter truth about ignoring the cancer fighting potential of orange peel
Who knew that oranges have been studied as a potent anti-cancer drug? Why the silence then, about the limonoids that help to fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon? These bitter compounds – the ones that give the flavour to orange and lemon zest, are readily absorbed by the body and are potent anti-carcinogens. They outperform green tea and other sources of polyphenols due to their exceptional bioavailability. They remain active for a few days as opposed to other phytochemicals. So keep using my recipes to provide more limonin glucoside. We digest this compound and then split off the attached glucose molecule to set off the limonin. This chemical attacks fat and grease and can also be used to make your own green detergents.
Oranges are an abundant supply of limonin and polyphenols. They provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-proliferative effects. So why the heck don’t we take advantage of what we can get out of oranges? Rather wrap your belief systems around a pocket of oranges and a bunch of leaves than a white jacket, toxic anti-cancer drugs and a machine that sets off radiation. It is interesting that a bald Barbie Doll was introduced to the toy market in sympathy of children with mothers who have breast cancer. It is a pity the mother threw her orange peels in the trash can!
Pulp fiction or fact? Go for the pectin
The science behind using whole fruit – every part of it is especially true for getting the most out of citrus pith in the form of a pulp as well as just extracting the juice. The fibre it contains is rich in vitamin K, pectin and the bulkier the format, the better. A daily nosh of orange pulp can mop up heavy metals, toxins and other muck throughout the digestive tract, and it lowers cholesterol and helps to prevent atherosclerosis. This helps to lower the glycemic index and prevents insulin upsets - a boon to weight loss. All that fibre enhances gut health by pushing out the crap and supporting a good colony of beneficial bacteria. It contains no gluten or sugar and is what we call a calorie-negative food. (Why do we chuck this stuff away?)
Eat oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit to your heart's content
But the pulp you are about to start making and enjoying as a prescribed gourmet medicine has even more to offer. Hesperidin; an anti-inflammatory flavone (chemical) that can lower blood pressure and cholesterol - according to studies done with animals. This is also due to the high potassium content of citrus pith and the fibrous skins around the fruit segments. We try to cut down on sodium to reduce blood pressure by still need salt to survive. It is potassium that balances the sodium in the blood! There are also flavonoids like polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) on offer. They prevent the synthesis of triglycerides (the cholesterol foundation) in the liver. The combined antioxidant effects of all the phytochemicals present in an orange (not just the juice) stop cholesterol from oxidizing and converting to the bad LDL type of cholesterol that causes the damage to blood vessels.
The smart anti-cancer strategy of galactose in citrus pectin:
A cell with DNA damage (known as a cancer cell) is normally detected and removed by the immune system on a daily basis. Where there is a larger area that is toxic or damaged, cells are switched on to multiply and pack around the danger zone and cover it up. This is how a biofilm or a cyst is formed around a parasite, for instance. But if one of the cancerous cells migrates to another site it causes the spread (or metastasis) of cancer. The bones, lungs, prostate, kidney, liver, thyroid or brain are typical sites where metastasis takes place. So we need to know how to stop this from happening to call a halt to the spread of cancer.
It is one thing to kill cancerous cells (chemotherapy and radiation) as soon as they are generated and another to stop the process in its tracks. That is what is so smart about citrus pectin. It switches off the cell division and inbibits the cell adhesion. For a wayward cancerous cell to replicate, invade a blood vessel and set up a new site it requires full engagement with receptors called galectins situated on its membrane. Each galectin receptor must bond with a sugar molecule called galactose. This switches on the cancer factory and away it goes. So along comes a different look-alike galactose from citrus pectin and blocks the cancer cell's receptors.
Now it can't establish a niche to breed on a blood vessel. But citrus pectin can halt the growth or metastasis of cancer using this cunning technique. Supplements made of modified citrus pectin as well as eating more citrus pulp will deal with this aspect of cancer. The antioxidant and anti inflammatory effects of oranges can also help us cope with other aspects of cancer. The pith of lemons is very good for the liver and helps to make enzymes like trypsin that control cell division.
Trypsin, when it is available and active also switches off cell division when appropriate. (But it won't if the receptors are an excess of certain hydroxyestrogens that have not been cleared by the liver.) There are no adverse of deadly side effects from this form of DIY cancer management. It is also good for arthritis, heart problems, autoimmune reactions, weight issues and digestive problems. Many of us take expensive pills to try to control these conditions. Then we look for more pills to deal with the nasty side effects. Why? You can use the recipes that follow all the explanations to make your own delicious medicine. No side effects - but you will get hooked on what I call delicious detoxification. Food as medicine and guaranteed health.
- Constant headaches or back pain that do not respond to painkillers anymore
- Nagging joint pains, inflammation or arthritis
- Poor memory, brain fog, no attention span
- Depression, apathy, self-pity and lack energy
- Brittle nails and dry, weak hair
- Psoriasis and some forms of weepy eczema
- Abnormal body odor, coated tongue or bad breath
- Thyroid problems, sluggishness, bloating, constipation and unexplained weight gain
- Allergies, high histamine levels, itching and rashes, night sweats
Things we do that make us very toxic/acidic:
- Abuse of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and recreational drugs. Dehydration especially clogs up elimination channels and nutrient uptake is restricted.
- Exposure to heavy metals, especially mercury from fillings causes cancer and brain fog
- Exposure to fluoride in drinking water raises lead levels - especially in children
- Prolonged stress causes abnormally high cortisol and adrenaline levels
- Eating excessive fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates causes constipation, bad cholesterol, liver problems and morbid obesity
- Taking prescribed drugs and medications and having X-rays, scans and chemotherapy
- Natural (bio-identical) and synthetic steroid hormone (accumulation in fatty layers.)
- Constant exposure to cleaning solvents, pesticides, plastics and electronic radiation
MCP (modified citrus pectin) - and heavy metal chelation
The citrus-based isolate that is an exception to the whole food rule is modified citrus pulp (MCP). Doctor Elias developed a version of it called PectaSol® Chelation Complex. This product is used as part of a heavy metal detoxification protocol because the molecules are made smaller in order to penetrate blood vessels. This is necessary for removing toxins that have been embedded in organs and tissues and transporting them for excretion. According to urine test results patients using the modified citrus pectin excreted increased amounts of the substances within 24 hours:
- Arsenic excretion increased by 130%
- Mercury excretion increased by 150%
- Cadmium excretion increased by 230%
- Toxic lead excretion increased by an amazing 560%!
It is a safer alternative to EDTA, the more popular chelating agent. Another advantage of MCP is that the manufacturers claim it performs selective removal and does not strip out essential minerals like zinc, calcium and magnesium. Animal studies show how it also helps to prevent the spread of cancer and enhance immunity by stimulating the effects of natural killer cells, B-cells and T-cytotoxic cells in a dose dependant way. We can take the modified citrus pectin for a regular heavy metal flush. But for now, we are going to chow the whole orange to get the benefits of the juice, the pith and the rind and everything synergistic it has to offer.
How to make your own citrus pulp
To ensure a regular supply of orange or other citrus peel products you need a practical way to ingest the white pith beneath that bitter oily peel. Voila! Use a stick blender to make your own citrus pulp. It can be frozen in measured quantities or kept in the fridge. This creamy golden slurry can be sweetened with xylitol and eaten a dollop at a time with cereals or yoghurt or added to smoothies. But for the gluten-free gourmet; and especially for vegans my citrus pulp is the magic ingredient for cakes, muffins and cookies. I developed this technique many years ago and wrote the first recipe for my book in 2004. It is only now that I see how healthy the stuff is!
- Take 2 large oranges of 10 cm diameter each to make 2 cups of orange pulp.
- Cut off the oily rind in neat strips, leaving behind as much white pith as you can. We keep the orange rind for later use. (Making candied citrus peel, beverages and a liquid detergent from the limonene.)
- Halve the oranges. Squeeze out their juice into the goblet of your stick or wand blender.
- Chop up the segments into smaller pieces and add to the juice.
- Whizz it up using the chopping blades of your stick blender to make a smooth fluffy pulp.
- Use the pulp for the baking recipes and other smart ideas.
Do more with citrus pulp – smart variations
Add 30 ml finely chopped fresh ginger to the blend – very yummy and more therapeutic. (The ginger is a natural blood thinner and anti-inflammatory drug.)
A few chunks of fresh pineapple can be included. (Pineapple is a medicine chest in its own right and is rich in bromelain.)
Try using grapefruit pulp. It is bitter but produces a lot more pulp. Use it for baking to get the lightest and fluffiest effects. Exclude the grapefruit juice. Use water or a sweeter juice to cut the bitterness.
Add a little lemon pulp. It is not good to use solo, but if you have leftovers from making lemon juice then remove the rind and add them to the orange or grapefruit pulp. It is marvellous for digestion and the health of your liver.
Freeze the pulp in measured quantities. The cake recipe requires 250 ml. It keeps in the fridge for at least a week. (A good indicator of all the phytochemicals and lifesaving antioxidants we get!)
A spoon or two of the orange pulp is nice to have every day with cereals or yogurt. Sweeten it with xylitol, maple syrup or honey. Yum! It can be added to the smoothies you make.
You may want to drink the fresh orange juice instead of adding it to the pulp. So replace it with an equal quantity of water or herb tea. Rooibos tea makes a nice change.
Baking with citrus pulp: orange cakes, cookies, muffins, fruit cakes and rusks
Citrus pulp dough - gluten-free, dairy free and egg free (vegan friendly)
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl by adding them in the order they are listed:
- 250 ml orange pulp
- 20 ml olive oil (or rice bran oil)
- 80 – 100 ml brown sugar or preferably xylitol
- 150 ml rice flour (or quinoa flour if you have it)
- 5 ml baking powder
Stir together and pour into a baking dish that is lined with baking paper.
The mixture will yield about 350 ml. (Enough to fill a small flat glass dish, baking tin or a small muffin tray.) They can be baked in a pre heated oven of 180 degrees C for about 10 – 15 minutes.
I prefer to bake these items in a microwave oven. The average time is 3 – 4 minutes. Then remove from the oven. Place on a wooden board covered by a piece of paper towel. Peel off the paper lining and release the hot steamy cake. Let it cool down completely, turning it around a few times so as not to let one side get too soggy. While still warm it can have a spread of maple syrup or honey that seeps in and adds to the pleasure. The basic orange cake keeps well in or out of the fridge and it can also be frozen.
Serve it: as sponge fingers topped with strawberries and natural cream. Or slice the cake into strips and dry them out to make rusks. Use the cake as a hot or cold pudding and serve it with jelly, fruit custard or cream to make a gluten free trifle. Try it with ice cream topped with home-made orange preserve or marmalade or strawberries.
Favourite cakes to make from your basic citrus pulp dough
Coco pine orange cake. Add a few chunks of fresh pineapple and a slice or two of fresh ginger to the oranges you pulp up. Add 100 ml desiccated coconut to the dough mixture.
For a satisfying fruit cake add chopped raisins and nuts to the pulp. Add a little cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. For a darker colour, add a few teaspoons of cocoa powder to the dough. Adding a tablespoon of sweet molasses makes it richer.
To convert this into a carrot cake, add half a cup of finely grated carrots.
For Chocolate brownies add more sugar and cocoa to the fruit cake and spread the mixture out into a flatter baking tray. Add chocolate chips or better still – coca nibs.
For muffins, cupcakes and fairy cakes spoon the dough into muffin trays or use paper liners in the trays. Add chocolate chips, candied orange peel or ginger preserve.
For flaxseed biscotti (rusks) to protect you from the munchies add 150 – 280 ml flax seeds (linseed) to the baking mixture. (The ground-up flax seeds boost beneficial oestrogen and banish constipation . They provide omega 3 oil and lignans, an insoluble fibre. It also helps to cut the bad cholesterol.) Add sunflower or pumpkin seeds for more of a bite. After baking, cool the cake down before slicing it. Place the slices on an oven tray and lightly toast them to make the rusks – this takes a few minutes.
Bitter grapefruit hunger buster bars. For a more slimming idea use grapefruit pulp for the biscotti and sweeten it with stevia.
Cookies or crunchy biscuits are easy to make out of any of the above mixtures. Spoon out small blobs of dough on a greased baking sheet. Bake them until you feel they are done on the surface. Then switch off the oven and they will crisp up on their own if left for a few hours or overnight.
Make dandy orange peel candies that “don’t rot your teeth!”
Xylitol is a form of sugar that is very beneficial for oral hygiene, blocked sinuses, throat infections and especially for teeth. It has an anti-microbial effect and helps to destroy germs that cause a build-up of plaque. When in the mouth cavity, xylitol also helps to break up mucous, even as far as the sinuses and middle ear. Orange peel also contains a host of germ killers due to limonene - the oil in the rind. Orange peel is a Chinese digestive remedy that they say improves digestion, especially by assisting the liver chi. Orange peel remedies are highly recommended for boosting the efficacy of stomach acid and it is a popular ingredient in digestive bitters for this reason.
Another way to add orange or tangerine peel to meals is to throw a few pieces into a pot of dry beans you are cooking. It makes the house smell wonderful and enhances the flavour of the cooked beans. Just mash it into the beans when they are done. A serving of cooked dried beans a day is also a great way to impress the doctor when you go for a cholesterol check up.
Keep this candy handy and eat it often to help clear up mouth and sinus infections. Chew and suck the pieces to freshen the breath too. Mix it up with seeds and nuts for a grab handy snack. Almonds and walnuts are also good for teeth and so are sunflower seeds that are rich in vitamin E. Orange candy can be added to the orange cake dough to give your home bakes a more intense orange flavour.
- Peel two medium-sized oranges and snip up the skin into small pieces with a knife or scissors. If you have a chopper attachment then use it to save the sclep.
- You can also use the rind you peel off of oranges and lemons when you make the citrus pulp for baking. But the full orange or lemon peel is the best for making the candy. Never use grapefruit!
- Measure out an equal volume of water and place it in a pot with the orange peel. Quantities are equal amounts of the peel, water and sugar or xylitol.
- Close the pot with a lid and boil up the mixture for about 10 minutes to soften the peel.
- Now turn up the heat to full and add sugar or xylitol to the pot. (Equal to the amount of chopped up peel.)Let it bubble and trouble to reduce the moisture.
Keep an eye on the pot, especially after about ten minutes. When done, it makes a hissy spluttering noise. Then remove it from the stove and let it cool down.
Different ways to treat this candy
For a marmalade type of texture or a preserve: remove the mixture from the heat before it frizzes. It must have a little syrup left. Keep it in a jar and use it on toast or steamed puddings.
For a tangy pineapple and ginger preserve - add tiny pieces of pineapple and some grated fresh ginger to the pot before boiling up the brew.
For crystalline crunchy candy add a pinch of the sugar or xylitol to the pot and stir it before leaving it to cool down. This encourages crystals to form.
If you prefer the candy to be more like toffee make sure there are no sugar crystals in sight – not even on the side of the pot. Xylitol does not make a sticky or brittle toffee. So be bad and use sugar, but only as a special treat. Add more sugar to improve the sticky effect. Boil the candy to the hottest (candy hot) temperature - a blob of the hot mixture crackles when dropped into a glass of water. It is dangerous and the pot is hot. So skip this one if there are small children with you.
You can also change the taste of the candy. Add finely chopped ginger to the orange skins. Add some lemon peel for a lemon fresh version. This is nice to use as an after dinner mint / teeth cleaning alternative. (This is better for your teeth and is also good for digestion.)
The orange preserve makes a nice addition to a snack box with seeds, nuts and raisins to keep the blood sugar cruising and to stifle hunger pangs.
Now for something completely different – orange leather! Yes, flat chewy stuff
This is a unique recipe I concocted years ago that just works and the results are good.
- Take 2 oranges, cut them in half.
- Remove pips and squeeze the juice out into the goblet of an electric blender or use a stick blender.
- Chop up the orange peel – rind and all and add it to the juice. It is quite bitter so you may prefer to discard half of the rind if this is a problem for younger children.
- Process it into a fine smooth pulp. For a variation, also add a slice of fresh, chopped ginger.
- Microwave method: Transfer the pulp to a deep (to prevent bubbling over) fireproof glass jug with a cup of brown sugar. Microwave this mixture on full for 5 minutes. Stir well and microwave it for another 5 minutes.
- Pot on the stove method: cook the same ingredients in a pot on the stove. Keep watch and stir it from time to time. Stop and remove the pot from the stove when it is no longer watery and is beginning to hiss (and almost burn.)
- Enjoy that lovely fragrance!
- Allow things to cool down a bit. Then spoon out blobs of the orange mixture onto greased baking paper. Leave 2 – 4 cm of free space around them.
- Dip your fingers in water and rub them down into thin discs of about 3mm thick.
- Leave them to dry in a warming drawer for a few hours or overnight in the oven after it has been switched off. They take about a day to dry in the hot sun.
When the discs are no longer sticky you can peel them away from the baking paper. Now have a taste. What a delicious way to take your anti cholesterol medicine!
Keep the orange preserve stored in plastic containers in the fridge. Enjoy as a dried fruit or use them chopped up or silvered to flavour your desserts. Add them to vegetable dishes like steamed or roasted carrots and shake on a blast of cinnamon. (Cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity and some naturopaths recommend it to replace insulin medications in some cases.)
For chocolate orange combinations to try: Wrap the discs around a chunk of Belgian chocolate. Spread melted chocolate onto the orange discs and sprinkle them with crushed nuts. Use bitter chocolate if you prefer the taste.
How to treat a hangover and bronchitis with citrus peel?
According to some sources a few orange peels soaked in hot water is a cure for hangovers and a tight chest. They recommend adding salt to the mixture and drinking it. The same would apply to lemon peel. Add a little lemon juice and ginger. Then get ready for more bitter facts about limonin in citrus peel to understand how this could work.
The last word on orange juice and the antioxidant team that includes vitamin C
We all know that oranges contain vitamin C. We know it is an antioxidant and similar to ascorbic acid in being able to stop the oxidation of cholesterol and prevent plaque from sticking to artery walls. Vitamin C also prevents free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade that affects asthma, osteoarthritis, heart problems, DNA damage (cancer) and rheumatoid arthritis. But in oranges, vitamin C is only one chemical component of a very potent anti-oxidant team that includes cyanidin-3-glucoside (a cancer attacking chemical), flavanones (like hesperetin and naringenin) and carotenoids. So for the best DNA protection, simply eat an orange! Then you can also benefit from anthocyanins, hydroxycinnamic acids, and a variety of polyphenols that contribute to the extensive therapeutic value of an orange.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away but did you hug your orange today?
The stick or wand blender
You need this for making the citrus pulp!
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EAsy way to blend and to chop
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Modified citrus pectin
This makes an immediate difference
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