Citrus Is In Season, Y’all

What Are Citrus Fruits?

Citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, limes, clementines, mandarins, tangerines, grapefruits and several other exotic fruits.  They are classified by their outer peel and segmented flesh.  Citrus fruits are also known for their acidic content.

What Are the Benefits of Adding Citrus Fruits to Your Diet?

Citrus fruits offer a variety of health benefits to our diets.  Citrus fruits contain several antioxidants including vitamin A, C and E.   Flavonoids are responsible for the vibrant colors of citrus fruits and also have antioxidant qualities.  Adding these nutrients to your diet can help prevent a range of health concerns including cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammation.

Citrus fruits also contain many minerals including calcium, which plays a major role in maintaining bone mass that can decrease as we age.  Potassium is present in citrus fruits and also plays a very important role in bone health.  Additionally, potassium can help maintain normal blood pressure.  Folate, a B vitamin, plays an important role in our blood and is found in adequate amounts in citrus fruits.  This is an especially important vitamin for expecting mothers.

As with all fruits, fiber is another nutrient found in citrus fruits. More than half of the fiber found in citrus fruits is soluble fiber, which can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and lower cholesterol.  The insoluble fiber will help prevent constipation. Both are critical to our overall health.

How Can I Add Them to My Diet?

Because of all of these benefits, it is important to find ways to work these into your diet.  Some simple ways include adding a lemon wedge to your water or tea, or having a glass of orange juice each day.  Lime is great to cook with when preparing savory dishes and can also be added on top of chicken or rice after being cooked for an extra punch of flavor.  Mandarin oranges and almonds are great toppings to salads.  Citrus fruits are also healthy substitutes for those salty or sugary snacks we often crave throughout the day.

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