No matter where you live in the US, winter isn’t known to be a bright and sunny season. It’s easy to go into hibernation mode because of the weather, but the seasonal citrus helps to keep things bright! Though lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and limes are affordable and can easily be accessed year-round, these sun-shiny fruits are actually in season over the winter. Makes you wonder if Mother Nature gave us these brightening fruits when we needed them the most! Here’s a list of the benefits of citrus and ways to enjoy them. Happy squeezing!
Many people know oranges are a great source of vitamin C, helping our immunity especially during winter’s cold and flu season. Vitamin C is also helpful in the following ways: (1)
- Cancer and heart disease prevention – vitamin C is an antioxidant, helping to rid our body of free radicals that can cause many health issues down the line.
- Growth and repair for the tissues in the body – this means wound healing, keeping our gums healthy, and recuperation after surgery or injury.
- Collagen production – this helps to keep our joints strong and reduce the formation of wrinkles.
- It helps us absorb iron when we consume them together – this is always a trick dietitians give to people that have low iron in their blood!
- Citrus fruits can also provide B vitamins, potassium, and fiber when the whole fruit is eaten. (2)
- They also have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent many health problems, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- The rinds of the fruit have oils that are the base of brightening essential oils!
- They are affordable and make colorful kitchen décor before being used in a recipe.
How to use them
- You can always stick to the classics – an orange for a snack, or a grapefruit as part of breakfast.
- The colorful rinds can be used in recipes just as much as the juice can. The zest provides another boost of flavor, but make sure not to grate them past the color– the white part of the rinds are very bitter!
- Combine lemon juice with Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper to make a healthy and fresh salad dressing or marinade.
- Add slices of orange or lemon to your water to change up the flavor.
- Bake thinly-sliced orange slices to make a fragrant and beautiful garland over the holidays.
- Try a recipe for a homemade cleaning spray that includes the peels of a citrus fruit. The peels can also help to freshen the scent of a garbage disposal.
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– Samantha Marks, RD, LDN