Nutritional and health benefits of eating citrus fruits (oranges, clementines, grapefruits, pomelos, and lemons)
By: Moran Kilzi – Nutritionist at Leket Israel
Citrus fruits are winter fruits as this is the season when they ripen, are rich in vitamin C, low in calories, and are relatively inexpensive.
In addition to their high vitamin C count (one and a half oranges provide enough vitamin C for the recommended daily intake), eating a variety of citrus fruits provides supplemental vitamins and minerals such as: potassium, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin A. Citrus fruits contain no less than 200 unique phytochemicals which help prevent numerous diseases and improves various bodily systems.
Citrus fruits have similar calorie levels, and include on average 40-45 calories per 100 grams.
It’s recommended to eat citrus fruits as is and not squeeze them into juice because then you benefit from all the nutritious fibers found in the fruit and the pulp which help you feel satiated. The pectin found in the peel dissolves in water and is very important to help regulate cholesterol absorption, bile and stomach acid, and sugars from the digestive system to the blood.
Citrus Fruits – Fun Facts:
- Orange (color) fruits – such as oranges and clementines, provide vitamin A for the body (as Beta-Carotene) which is essential for vision, improves our night vision, and delays skin aging
- Grapefruit – improve the digestive system and help treat/prevent mucus build-up and throat infections/laryngitis. Red grapefruits are also rich in Lycopene which gives them their red color and gives our bodies some of its most important antioxidants (also found in tomatoes)
- Lemon – adds a lot! Mainly adds taste to any dish that needs seasoning. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and is beneficial in warding off colds. In addition, it relieves itching caused by mosquito bites.
- Pomelo – considered the largest citrus fruit. Provides an adequate amount of vitamin C. Research shows that drinking pomelit juice (a cross between grapefruit and pomelo) is helpful to those suffering from heart diseases.
Eat citrus fruits in the winter when their ripest! Integrate them into fruit and vegetable salads, in cooked foods, and in cakes.
The following is a recipe from BEIT ABBA/MY FATHER’S HOUSE:
Pomelit and Strawberry Salad (of which everyone asks for more…)
Ingredients: 2 pomelits, a basket of strawberries, and a handful of chopped nuts
- Peel the pomelits, separate the segments into pieces roughly the size of a centimeter and place in a bowl
- Wash the strawberries really well, cut into cubes, and add to the bowl
- Add the nuts and mix
- BON APETIT/B’TEAVON!