Eat more citrus fruits!
The winter months can be bleak and dreary, but the lively colors and flavors of citrus fruits can brighten any day! The citrus season is a good time to remind ourselves that these edible beauties are nature’s bundles of healthful nutrients.

Citrus fruits contain fiber, almost no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol making them a significant part of a heart-healthy diet. They also contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that provide many therapeutic and preventative properties. For instance, vitamin C assists in wound healing and iron absorption and its antioxidant activity may help prevent cataracts, heart disease, and cancer. Folic acid has been shown to prevent neural tube defects in infants, and potassium has been shown to be important in maintaining normal blood pressure. Citrus fruits are also low in calories.

In addition, citrus fruits are important sources of phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids. These phytochemicals are believed to be protective against cancer and heart disease, and will likely prove to have even more health benefits as our understanding of their role and importance in our diets grows.

According to a recent report from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “The multiple nutritional benefits from citrus are only possible through consumption of fruits and juices and currently could not be obtained from supplements.”

Know Your Citrus
_____ 1. The best eating orange
_____ 2. The best juicing orange
_____ 3. A type of tangerine
_____ 4. A cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine

_____ 5. “Chinese grapefruit”

A. Pummelo B. Navel
C. Tangelo D. Valencia
E. Mandarin

Answers: 1) B 2) D 3) E 4) C 5) A

Citrus Equivalents
1 orange = 1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 orange = 1 Tbsp grated peel
1 lemon or lime = 1 Tbsp grated peel
1 lemon or lime = 3 Tbsp juice
Tip: If you microwave a lemon or lime for 20-30 seconds, it will be easier to extract the juice.
By Beth Fontenot, MS, LDN, RD

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