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Contact: Claire H. Smith (818) 379-7455

Sunkist Nutrition Bureau has healthy facts on citrus


October 01, 2003

Did you know that nutrients in citrus peel can help significantly reduce the incidence of skin cancer? Or that oranges, with their high fiber and water content, can help curb appetite and support weight loss?

Both of these important nutritional facts come to you courtesy of the new Sunkist Nutrition Bureau, established to reach health professionals and consumer media with information on the health and nutrition benefits of citrus. "As the leading citrus supplier, we want to be a valuable resource for information about citrus," said Christine Bencomo, a project manager with Sunkist's marketing group leading the initiative for the nutrition bureau.

In partnership with Integrated Marketing Works, the Sunkist Nutrition Bureau has been in development for the last year, compiling currently available research and keeping abreast of new studies. "The goal," said Bencomo, "is to educate consumers about the refreshingly healthy and tasty goodness of fresh oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other citrus fruits." The Bureau will be officially launched at the American Dietetic Conference in late October.

While many people turn to citrus for vitamin C when fighting a cold, most do not know that, thanks to its unique nutrient profile, citrus can also help control appetite, reduce the risk or coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and protect against diseases.

Lemon, orange and grapefruit peel are loaded with d-limonene, which studies show has cancer-protecting activity against a variety of cancers. A recent study from University of Arizona concluded that consuming citrus peel can reduce the risk of skin cancer by 30%. "As little as one tablespoon of citrus zest per week is enough to make a significant difference in preventing skin cancer," said Iman A. Hakim, M.D., Ph.D., University of Arizona College of Public Health and Arizona Cancer Center. (One tablespoon of zest is equivalent to the peel of approximately one orange or lemon, depending on the size of the fruit and how finely or coarsely the zest is grated.)

Oranges are also high in fiber and water content. Fiber supports weight loss by providing a feeling of satiety, or fullness, with just few calories. And water content dilutes the calories in food. When you add orange slices to a salad, you're adding food volume and healthful nutrients -- but very few calories.

Research on the Mediterranean diet, which often includes parts of whole lemon and citrus oils, has shown that people who consume large amounts of citrus fruit have the lowest incidence rates for cardiovascular diseases and most tumors associated with diet.

"For many years, gourmet chefs have been using lemon and orange zest to add flavor to recipes," said Bencomo. "The discovery of new health benefits should encourage consumers to add citrus zest to every day meals in soups, salads, salsa, or sprinkled on top of chicken or fish."

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For more information on Sunkist Nutrition Bureau contact Christine Bencomo at (818)-379-7181 or email at cbencomo@sunkistgrowers.com.

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