Where To Find The Phytonutrient That Increases Your Longevity And Metabolism

Nobel-prize-winning biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi, credited with the discovery of vitamin C (via Clinics in Dermatology), found a group of compounds in the late 1930s deemed "vitamin P" — now known as bioflavonoids (via Swanson Vitamins). Bioflavonoids can be found in a variety of foods including garlic, spinach, red bell peppers, broccoli, and certain types of teas (via Fit Day). These "super antioxidants" help boost cardiovascular health and reduce the likelihood of developing certain health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease.

One such group of bioflavonoids, known as citrus bioflavonoids, has a host of unique health benefits that offer immune system support (via Swanson Vitamins) while reducing inflammation (via Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity). With chemical compounds derived from plants, citrus bioflavonoids are considered ​​phytonutrients (via MindBodyGreen). "They're not vitamins or minerals, but they're unique," Dr. Zhaoping Li, chief of the division of clinical nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles, told MindBodyGreen. "These are the compounds that the plant has developed to protect itself from oxidation. Humans have evolved to take advantage of those compounds the plants produce and use them to protect us as well."

Not only that, but citrus bioflavonoids have also been shown to boost metabolism, as well as promote healthy aging — so where exactly can we find this ​​super phytonutrient?

The benefits of citrus fruit on health and aging

If you're looking to boost your intake of ​​citrus bioflavonoids, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, and grapefruits are your best bet (via MindBodyGreen). However, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University Jamie Alan explains that it's not just the insides of these fruits that you'll want to focus on, stating that citrus bioflavonoids are "more abundant in the rind."

When it comes to our metabolism, a 2009 animal study conducted by researchers at The University of Western Ontario discovered that a specific citrus bioflavonoid found in grapefruit, known as naringenin, was able to lower cholesterol, protect against insulin resistance, and balance the glucose metabolism of mice. Additionally, the flavonoid "genetically [reprogrammed] the liver to burn up excess fat, rather than store it," indicating its potential to protect against metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.

Citrus may also lend a hand in extending one's lifespan. A 2022 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences examined various flavonoid studies. The review cited that ​​citrus bioflavonoids contain antioxidant properties, which can reduce cardiovascular damage related to aging. The review also referenced a 2015 study in which low concentrations of the citrus bioflavonoid, naringenin, were administered to fruit flies through their diet. It yielded a 22.62% increase in longevity (via International Journal of Molecular Sciences).

While research is still limited, it appears that citrus fruits may have a lot to offer in the way of metabolic health and longevity.