This time of year, there’s nothing like a little citrus fruit to brighten your mood and wow your taste buds. What’s more, the health benefits are bountiful!
Nutrition: Bring on the Citrus!
Can you feel the tug? The pull that takes you a few steps closer to where your eyes have already wandered in the produce department? It’s hard to avoid the perfectly placed piles of oranges, limes and grapefruits, and with names like HoneyBell, Cuties and clementine — who can resist? The best advice? Don’t! You’ll miss all the fun (and the flavor)! Though the climate screams “drab!”, what lies just inside the front doors of the local marketplace is anything but. Just when the winter chill sets in and all things fresh seem a bit hidden from sight, the Ruby Reds come calling! Is there anything better than a big, juicy, tangy bowl of sweet sunshine for breakfast?
Citrus fruits transport us to the brighter side of life. They’re vibrant, colorful, flavorful and aromatic, and they offer up plenty of good-for-you nutrients for living well! If you’ve been looking to add a bit of pizzazz to your daily plate, this is the season to experiment with the many flavors of citrus. Be careful, though, they may just make you want to dance the tangelo! Or is that the tango? OK, maybe not — that might be embarrassing in the middle of the produce aisle!
The following are just a few easy-to-find citrus fruits, how to use them and why they’re good for you:
Good source of potassium, foliate and fiber.
Nutrition bonus: One medium orange provides more than 100 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C. That’s a mighty perk as Vitamin C, studies indicate, may reduce the longevity (and symptoms) of a cold!
Uses: There are so many varieties, there’s no need to get stuck. Experiment with Cara Caras, blood oranges and Valencias as part of a breakfast fruit cup or atop a lunch salad.
Good source of Vitamin C Nutrition bonus: Lemons contain the phytochemical limonene that may reduce risk of certain types of cancer.
Uses: The juice of a lemon and its zest lend themselves perfectly to vinaigrettes and are great added to sautéed greens like spinach and kale. Try a slice of lemon (or lime) with your water for a refreshing lift.
Good source of vitamins C and A, and fiber.
Nutrition bonus: Grapefruit contains the phytochemical lycopene that studies show may reduce risk of prostate cancer and protect skin from UV rays.
Uses: Experiment with grapefruit and avocado sections atop mixed greens.
Drizzle lightly with a tangy vinaigrette. Combine 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Good source of vitamins C and A, potassium and fiber.
Nutrition bonus: Tangerines contain flavonoids, powerful plant chemicals that protect against free-radical damage.
The tangerine family includes tangerines, mandarins and tangelos with a variety of names including Minneola, Satsuma and clementine!
Uses: Many varieties of tangerines (like clementines) are easy to peel making them perfect for take-along snacks.
Heidi Kramer is a nutrition specialist and inspirational speaker who has inspired thousands to lose weight, start good eating habits and become champions of their own health for more than 20 years. Kramer is available at Cary Physical Therapy (www.caryphysicaltherapy.com) for individual counseling and group programs. She offers regular “Inspired Living: A Healthy Weigh of Life” classes. Follow her blog at www.freshandsimple.wordpress.com for recipes and “infusing fresh food ideas into everyday life.” Contact her at 847-516-9038 or visit www.lifeinspiredspeaking.com.