By United Supermarkets Dietitian Team
United Supermarkets’ Lifestyle Desk
What makes a fruit, a citrus fruit? Fruits from the citrus family have thick skin and generally pulpy fleshy segmented insides. Citrus fruits are native to Asia and grow on evergreen trees. However, citrus fruit trees have made their way worldwide and are staples in various non-Asian diets.
As a result, we have adopted lemons, limes, and oranges as essential fruits in our everyday diet in America. Many, if not most, Americans associate citrus fruits with Vitamin C. Oranges most endearing trivial factoid is one even a kindergartener could spout at the drop of a dime, “oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C!” Nevertheless, oranges and other citrus fruits health benefits are not defined solely by their Vitamin C content. The consumption of citrus fruits produces beneficial health outcomes based on the numerous properties and qualities of the fruits.
The most commonly consumed citrus fruits in America are oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Although the amount of nutrients in each fruit may differ, generally speaking, they all provide similar health benefits. Here is a list of a few of those benefits.
- Of course, most of us understand there is a relationship between Vitamin C and immunity. Vitamin C in citrus fruits does not prevent colds; however, Vitamin C may indeed shorten the length and severity of a cold. Lastly, the Vitamin C in citrus fruits aids in the absorption of iron.
- So, lemon and fish not only make a tasty pairing, but their pairing is also essential for better iron absorption.
- Most people do not consume an adequate amount of fiber in their diet. Citrus fruits such as oranges are good sources of fiber. Fiber intake helps maintain beneficial gut health.
- Whole citrus fruit juices often are high in calories. Luckily, citrus fruits consumed as whole fruits are surprisingly low in calories. Without added sugars, citrus fruits make good low-calorie snacks.
- Citrus fruits contain a substance that acts as an antioxidant and has reduced the risk of certain cancers. For example, citrus fruits may reduce acquiring lung, esophageal, stomach, breast, and pancreatic cancers.
Another compound in citrus fruits potentially improves heart health by increasing the amount of “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol. In addition, the compounds in citrus fruits may protect against the cellular breakdown in the brain that causes diseases. Citrus fruit compounds exhibit an anti-inflammatory that protects our cells from damage and deterioration.
As a side note, grapefruits interact with many different medications. Therefore, if you’re taking any prescription medicines, please consult your doctor before adding grapefruits into your diet.
Citrus fruits contain a wide variety of beneficial properties aiding in our health. To include more citrus in your life, try squeezing fresh citrus juices over your favorite meats and side dishes for a zesty delicious kick. In addition, you can combine citrus fruit slices with salads, oatmeals, and yogurts for a nutritious filling topper. Citrus fruits are just about always in season depending on where in the world they are coming from, so there is no reason to wait any longer to explore the incredible benefits of eating citrus fruits. If you’re looking to enjoy more local varieties, winter is their peak season!
Citrus Yogurt Bowl With Angel Food Cake Croutons
What You Need
1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/8 Angel Food Cake from the bakery
1 oz. Pistachios
4 Mint Leaves
How It’s Made
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cut angel food cake into 1/2 inch squares
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place angel food cake on top
4. Bake for 5-7 minutes
5. Peel and break apart clementine
6. Roughly chop pistachios
7. Chiffonade mint
8. In a bowl, place yogurt on bottom and layer on clementines, angel food cake croutons, pistachios, and mint