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The Heroes of the Season: Citrus Fruits

Eating only one of these can provide more than the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

They boost your immune system, can prevent certain types of cancer, help your weight loss, promote healthy vision.

What are they?

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The health benefits of citrus fruit

We all know that citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamin C and they are in season in the winter months – they just come handny in our fight with cold and flu. However, they provide much more than just this.

Citrus fruits – thanks to their high vitamin C content – boost the immun system and good for a healthy vision as they support lens protection. Vitamin C, itself is a powerful antioxidant, as it is so defends body cells against the cancer-causing free radicals. It is also proven that high dietary intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke and lower the cholesterol.

The pectin in citrus fruit is the soluble fibre found in the flesh and membrane also has health benefits: it reduces the cholesterol level and promote a healthy digestive system (reducing the risk of cancers in the digestive tract). The membranes also contain bioflavonoids which have powerful antioxidant properties. So, it worth to eat the whole fruit instead of drinking only its juice.

Citrus fruits for children

Can babies have oranges and other citrus fruits?

Usually, it is not recommended to offer oranges or other citrus fruits to babies as they are very acidic and maycause nappy rash and allergic reactions. However, with moderation oranges, tangerines can be offered from 12-months. It is really important to offer these fruits in small bite sizes, peeled all the rind and membrane off and all seeds removed. Never leave the baby unattended while eating, because maybe the fruit looks soft and safe to eat, but the orange pieces are slippery and can slide down the baby’s throat and cause choking. When citrus fruits are offered the first time, wait and monitor your baby at least 3 days before moving on to the next new food. That way you can see if there is any reaction caused by the fruit.

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How to offer them to toddlers?

Offer citrus fruits for toddlers in small bite sizes, make sure that all skin and seeds are removed. Usually, toddlers love oranges and tangerines because their sweet taste. Oranges are not just tasty fruits but they come with health benefits too. They can help prevent or alleviate constipation, they help recovery from diarrhea, can be a remedy from indigestion – obviously a great remedy for common flu, cough and cold. As citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C they help the absorption of iron. They also offer minerals like calcium and phosphorus – so eating oranges regularly can prevent rickets (weakened bones).

Fruit vs. fruit juices?

Are fruit juices a good alternative for the fresh fruit? Yes and  no. Fruit juices – I mean here the freshly pressed fruit juice – may contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals as the fresh fruit, but… they come without the fibre content which is highly beneficial for children. Without fibre orange juice is a quick source of sugar which raises the blood sugar level quickly. When you offer fruit juice to children, dilute it with water 1:1 and use freshly pressed juice as bottled, canned and concentrated citrus juices have a reduced level vitamin C.

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Citrus fruits in weight loss

All citrus fruits – but especially grapefruits and pomelos are a must in weight loss diets.

They both are a fat-burning citrus fruit. one whole grapefruit contains only 58 calories, but they fill you up thanks to their high fibre content – the perfect combination if you want to lose weight. They are also good for your stomach: helps digestion and blocks the formation of cancer-causing substances in the stomach.The only disadvantage of grapefruit that eating it is a bit messy…

The only disadvantage of grapefruit/pomelo that eating it is a bit messy… Well, if you want to have a grapefruit/pomelo as a snack in your workplace, it is better to prepare it the night before and take it with you in a food container. Preparation time: only minutes.

Here is a little help how to peel grapefruit or pomelo:

citrus fruits - healthy diet

First cut a slice off the top of the fruit, then score the skin deeply (about 7-8 mm deep in the case of pomelo) to divide it into four segments. Pull the skin back like the petals of a flower and tear out the ball of pomelo. Finally, peel off the tough membrane surrounding each segment.

Buying, storing and using citrus fruits

When you are buying citrus fruits always look for plump, firm fruits with smooth skins that feel heavy to their size. Most citrus fruits are sprayed with fungicides or waxed. It is better to buy organic fruits.

You can store them on room temperature for a few days or if you want them to keep longer, best to store them in the fridge for a few weeks.

However, they provide their best when they are fresh. Citrus fruits can lose much of their vitamin C content by time or if they are cut some time before eating. Also, vitamin C is destroyed by heat – so it is not recommended to cook them.

The best to eat them freshly peeled as a snack, added to breakfast muesli, salads or fruits kebabs.

Are you a constantly tired Mum?

Follow this free action plan

to get your energy back!

The Best 7 Nutritional Swaps To Be an Energetic Mum

With a printable reference.​

The best citrus fruits on the family table

citrus fruits - healthy diet

Orange

Oranges probably the least expensive fruit high in vitamin C. One orange daily can provide more than the recommended daily intake for adults – about 60mg per fruit. It is high in antioxidants

Oranges are in season from January to March.

Grapefruit - healthy snack

Grapefruit

Grapefruits have a white- pink- or ruby-flesh with bitter skin and membrane. It can give a fresh start to your day, just add grapefruit segments to your muesli or cereal. It helps the digestion of fat therefore, it is a great compliment to rich dishes. Despite being a citrus fruit, it is very filling. 

Grapefruits are in season from January to April.

citrus fruits - healthy diet

Pomelo

Pomelo is a great alternative if you do not like the bitterness of grapefruit. Its taste is milder, sweeter and a tiny bit drier. It is really easy to peel and less messy than peeling grapefruit. Pomelo is less acidic than other citrus fruits and it has a crispy bite. It is a great and filling snack but also tasty added to savoury salads and dishes.

In the season in the winter months.

citrus fruits - healthy diet

Satsuma, tangerine, mandarin

Probably the most popular citrus fruits for children. They are great as a snack or added to puddings and desserts.

They are in season from December to January.

citrus fruits - healthy diet

Lemon

The juice and the rind of the lemon both are an essential cooking ingredient. Due to its tartness, we rarely eat it itself as a fruit. We all know that a hot lemon drink with honey is the best remedy for cold and flu. A glass of hot water with a slice of lemon is the best start for the day, as it wakens the digestive system gently and cleanses the body.

Lemons  are available all year around.

citrus fruits - healthy diet

Lime

Limes have a sharper flavour and a slightly less vitamin C content than lemons. There is no Asian cooking without lime, it is highly aromatic and perfect in salsas, curries. It can be used as marinades for raw fish or added to drinks and cocktails.

Limes – just like lemons, – are available all year around.

Are you a constantly tired Mum?

Follow this free action plan

to get your energy back!

The Best 7 Nutritional Swaps To Be an Energetic Mum

With a printable reference.​

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