Fresh citrus fruit shipped in from warm-weather climates is a special treat for most northerners in winter. Bright and tasty, citrus also offers us many health benefits.
When we think about oranges, limes and grapefruits, we might think first of Vitamin C, but there’s more goodness there to be found, including fiber, minerals and antioxidants.
Citrus, Health and Beauty
We’re happy that citrus fruit is in season in the winter—the bright yellows, oranges and greens offer a bright color to our tables, bright flavors to our plates and plenty of vitamin C to help boost our immune systems. Warding off winter cold and flu symptoms is one of the favorite uses for citrus.
In addition, consuming the antioxidants in citrus fruit has been shown to reduce the risk for numerous diseases from diabetes to cancer. All those bright colors signal the presences of flavonoids, which have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. And citrus can be a good source of potassium, which plays a role in muscle contraction, nerve impulses and blood pressure.
Some citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits feature natural sugars, but also offer a good source of fiber (when eaten whole) and low glycemic scores to help keep blood sugar spikes in check. No need to stick with traditional tree fruits, though. For example, kiwi fruit is a winter citrus that provides more vitamin C than an average orange.
Aside from all the potential health benefits of winter citrus fruits, there are some beauty benefits, too. Collagen production leads the list. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and helps with cell production and skin elasticity to offset the signs of aging. Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, citrus fruits are among the best sources.
Stock up on Citrus
List of citrus fruits & other winter fruits high in vitamin C: orange, lime, lemon, tangerine, mandarin orange, grapefruit, citron, kiwifruit, kumquat, tangelo, ugly fruit, yuzu, pomegranate, cranberries.
Start with your favorite variety of orange to use in our yummy shrimp recipe below!
Spicy Orange Shrimp & Spinach
- 11 T. olive oil
- 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ – 1 tsp. minced jalapeno pepper (to taste)
- 2 small oranges, peeled and in segments
- 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- torn fresh mint and cilantro leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups of cooked quinoa (try it cooked in vegetable broth)
- Sauté the shrimp and jalapeno, seasoned with salt and pepper, in the olive oil.
- After a couple of minutes, turn shrimp, which should be turning pink.
- Add orange slices to pan, reserving 2 segments to finish off the dish.
- Add vinegar and spinach. Cook until shrimp is fully pink, oranges are warm and spinach is wilted (just few minutes total).
- Serve over a bed of cooked quinoa, and top with a squeeze of orange juice, cilantro and mint.