Citrus Fruits For A Healthy Winter

blood oranges

( Citrus fruits are packed to the brim with nutrients we need more of to beat off winter’s chill. So help your body fight off the cold and flu bugs and reap the side benefits of glowing skin! Find out why citrus should have a starring role on your shopping list below.

Citrus fruits are potent health foods. One navel orange packs in 138% of your daily requirement for Vitamin C, 3 grams of fibre, and is a good source of folate and potassium. All this for only 69 calories!

Vitamin C and Immune Function

Most citrus fruits are great sources of Vitamin C which is a key player in your immune system.It helps stimulate production of certain immune cells. Vitamin C also mops up reactive oxygen species which are produced by your immune cells to kill off pathogens but can harm good cells if left floating around.

Hold off on the supplements and reach for an orange. Most studies on supplemental Vitamin C and immune function are fairly inconclusive while diets high in natural sources of Vitamin C consistently show healthier populations. This means citrus fruits are likely a great example of food “synergy”- the sum of nutrients and molecules is more than each of its parts. No supplement can replace nature’s unique mix and delivery system- so eat up!

Fibre, Gut Health and Immunity

Foods high in fibre (both soluble and insoluble) help to feed our colony of gut bacteria – a key player in overall immunity and health. Studies have shown that higher fibre diets are linked with a healthier blend of bacteria in our gut, so choosing these foods daily helps to keep this critical line of defense in tip top shape.

Vitamin C and Healthy Skin

Quite the multi-tasking nutrient! Vitamin C is also crucial in collagen development and repair. Collagen is what gives skin its elasticity and structure- that smooth, plump and springy look. Inadequate vitamin C can play a role in accelerating the breakdown and slowing synthesis of new collagen molecules. This may lead to more rapidly aged looking skin.

Vitamin C is also linked to repair of sun damage, but the science is still quite young.

What Foods Should I Choose?

Including lots of vitamin C rich foods throughout the day helps to keep the fires burning in collagen production, mopping up of free radicals and supporting your immune system to stay battle ready. Aim for at least 1-2 servings of citrus fruits and include other Vitamin C rich foods like broccoli, kiw, bell peppers and dark leafy greens!

Vitamin C is somewhat heat sensitive so include some raw or only lightly heated citrus daily through the winter to get the most bang for your buck.

  • Oranges- navel, blood, all the types!
  • Tangerines
  • Lemons and limes (use the juice and zest in sauces, dressings and smoothies)
  • Clementines
  • Mandarins
  • Grapefruits
  • Pomelo

Photo by flickr user April Killingsworth

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