We encourage you to give a special place to citrus in your menus. They strengthen the immune system, they are cleansing and their flavor transforms any meal.
Nature is so wise that it offers us citrus fruits just when we need them most, from late fall to well into spring. And it does it with a variety of shapes and aromas for us to choose from at will.
Their exceptional richness in vitamin C makes them authentic shields of health against colds and flu so typical of winter and all this time. But not only that.
They also provide flavonoids, carotenes, terpenes, and other antioxidant compounds that reinforce the effect of vitamin C. They are also powerful anti-inflammatories.
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They captivate with their citrus aroma and the juiciness of their pulp, but their richness in vitamin C and other antioxidants also makes them allies of health in the cold months.
Orange, better whole
A medium-sized orange provides all the necessary vitamin C per day and 25% of the folic acid. It also provides vitamin B1, essential for the nervous system.
A tip: eat it whole and you will take advantage of the pectin (a very beneficial fiber for the intestinal microbiota that collaborates with the immune cells) and the antioxidant flavonoids, which are concentrated in the white skin that protects the segments.
Also: choose it organic to avoid fungicides and waxes with additives that can cover your skin.
Sweet oranges ripened on the tree and without chemical treatments have a more matte skin than those that usually reach most of our markets, as they lack that chemical wax that brightens, stains, and prolongs their conservation.
In reality, the kumquat or Chinese orange tree does not belong to the citrus family, but it is a very close relative with which it is able to hybridize.
With 8 kumquats you get all the vitamin C you need per day. They also provide you with 10% of the calcium.
The name of this dwarf citrus, originally from China and Indochina, comes from the Cantonese kam kwat, which means “golden orange”, perhaps because it shines like a nugget of gold. It is the only citrus whose rind, much sweeter than the pulp, can be eaten.
And not only can it … it should be eaten! The pulp gains in nuances if it is not peeled, especially if, before tasting it, it is rubbed vigorously with the hands to release its sweetness inside.
You can grow your kumquats plant in a pot and eat them whenever you feel like it. A 20-30 cm diameter pot is enough and you will have a small tree whose fruits you can enjoy.
It can be eaten naturally or used in jams and cake fillings. In salads, it combines better with bitter leaf lettuces.
Grapefruit is a great choice for breakfast. It is purifying and light, since it only provides 43 calories per 100 g; something that makes it an ally of weight-loss diets, which was often incorporated with the false myth that “it burned fat.”
In addition to eliminating toxins, it is very rich in vitamin C (a glass of its juice provides all that is needed per day) and in vitamin A (half a grapefruit covers 28% of daily needs), a combination that reduces inflammation and the incidence of infections.
In addition, grapefruit is considered to prevent cancer thanks to the action of substances called limonoids, which promote the formation of the enzyme glutathione-s-transferase in the liver. This enzyme facilitates the removal of various water-soluble toxic compounds.
The pink varieties also contain lycopen, the same antioxidant pigment as tomatoes. Yellow grapefruit is more acidic than pink. although both tend to surprise with a bitter point.
Lemon, rich in antioxidant terpenes
Like other citrus fruits, lemon is rich in vitamin C (a glass of its juice provides all that is needed per day) but, due to the amount taken, its contribution of terpenes is more interesting.
Lemon is also purifying, antibacterial and antiviral, anti-inflammatory, astringent, digestive and a good ally of blood circulation.
A study from the Ruhr-Bochum University in Germany has shown that the terpenes in lemon inhibit the growth of liver cancer.
It also contains citric acid, which prevents the formation of kidney stones. You can add a splash of juice to the water or use it for seasoning.
Although, like lime, it is not eaten as a table fruit, with its aroma and acidity it improves countless dishes.
Its beautiful yellow color is due to the presence of carotenoids, which give it part of its protective power. Over time the lemons become lighter and lose juiciness and acidity, so it is advisable to choose them very yellow. and if it is intended to use its bark, the biological ones are preferable.
Tangerine with all its fiber
There is no fruit more comfortable to eat, with its portions so easy to remove. Each segment of the mandarin is loaded with sweetness with an acidity point and a lot of vitamin C and a remarkable amount of vitamin A. It also has the advantage over other citrus fruits in that it is usually consumed whole, not in juice, which allows you to take advantage of it well. its fiber.
Its timidly acid flavor anticipates the citrus season, as the mandarin is the first to be harvested from the tree, in late autumn. Although it does not have as much vitamin C
as orange or lemon, two large tangerines already provide all the vitamin C you need per day.
It is also quite rich in provitamin A, vitamin B1, calcium, and potassium.
After its acid notes, a slightly sweet flavor predominates. In Macedonians, it combines with numerous fruits and in green salads, it is understood with cottage cheese. Naturally, it is a healthy snack.
On the outside, it looks like a green lemon, and that is what it is sometimes called, but its pulp, between green and yellow, is more acidic and aromatic than that of lemon.
Its origin is located in India, although today it grows in many tropical regions. Lime juice is used to prevent cholera in many parts of West Africa. Specifically, they add it to the sauce that accompanies the rice.
In our country, it is known above all as an ingredient in acidic and exotic cocktails, but in Creole and Asian cuisine it is a stellar ingredient.
Its juice is ideal for marinating and combines very well with that of other fruits, such as melon or papaya. Drizzle the juice over a quarter of an avocado and eat it as is. If you mix it with ginger and oil you will get a very attractive vinaigrette.
Choose the strongest and heaviest limes. If you leave them out of the fridge you will get more juice. They should be eaten fresh, as they dry and wrinkle quickly.
Blood orange, extra antioxidants
It ripens later than other sweet oranges, in early spring.
The wait is well worth it, as it needs the low temperatures of winter to synthesize the red pigments that give it its bloody color.
These pigments are the same as other red and purple fruits – anthocyanins – and give them antioxidant properties.
It is grown in the Mediterranean region and is the orange with the most beta-carotene or provitamin A.
Its squeezed juice gives an attractive raspberry color to juices and sorbets.