Sweet and sour saviours: Why citrus fruits should be part of your diet
Oranges are synonymous with vitamin C, but other citrus fruits pack a nutritional punch too.
Enjoying a juicy piece of orange can be a delicious moment, while having a slice of lemon with your tea can help you feel refreshed.
It turns out citrus fruits offer many health benefits as well as being as a tongue-tingling snack.
Nutrition Australia dietitian Leanne Elliston eats a grapefruit a day to get her daily vitamin C intake, but says all citrus fruits are “very good for us”.
“They are cheap and easily obtainable but from a nutritional point of view most of us can resonate that they’re a great source of vitamin C,” says Leanne.
“Some of the citrus, particularly the orange ones, also contain beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A.”
She says they also have folate which is necessary for pregnant women.
Citrus Australia chief executive Nathan Hancock says citrus fruits are also rich in antioxidants, contain vitamin B for energy, and are high in dietary fibre.
- Immunity booster: The natural benefits of vitamin C
So what are the health benefits of various citrus fruits?
Orange and mandarins
Oranges and mandarins are the most popular citrus fruits.
“One Australian orange has almost twice the recommended daily vitamin C intake, while one Australian mandarin contains all of your body’s daily vitamin C needs,” says Nathan.
Vitamin C helps strengthen immunity and these fruits also contain thiamine and potassium, which are good for blood pressure control.
But it’s important to remember that orange juice is not a good substitute for the real thing.
“It’s just too energy dense,” says Leanne.
“You only need one orange a day, but a glass of fruit juice can have the concentrate of four or five without fibre and it’s very easy to consume too much sugar.”
- Try this: Luke Hines’ Morning Citrus Cleanser
“Grapefruit has the highest amount of Vitamin C,” says Leanne.
It is also low in sugar and high in fibre, making it an ideal choice for weight loss.
Studies have also found grapefruit can help reduce insulin resistance, in turn lowering blood sugar levels.
But grapefruit and some medications like blood thinners don’t mix, with evidence showing it can make some drugs less effective – so check with your GP first.
Lemons and Limes
The benefits of lemons and limes have long been touted in natural medicine.
They are loaded with vitamin C, but we tend to not eat them as much because of the bitterness.
But, they a very good source of citric acid, which can be very helpful in preventing kidney stones, according to Leanne.
“They are also associated with aiding digestion so putting a squeeze of lemon in your water or tea is a good practice to get into to,” she says.
- Try this: Sally’s Lazy Lemon Tart
Written by Alex White.