When Life Gives You Lemons (or Oranges, Grapefruit, etc.)

12.17.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN; Washington Redskins Team Dietitian

The smell of a freshly cut grapefruit immediately takes me back to cold winter mornings growing up. My parents shared a grapefruit every morning with their breakfast. I realize now why “winter” is the season of this memory; winter is when citrus fruit is at its peak season.

Citrus as a winter fruit is another example of Mother Nature’s perfect timing! 

Citrus fruit provides us many of the nutrients needed to fend off colds, flu and other germs we are susceptible to at this time of year.

When it comes to citrus fruit, oranges and grapefruit tend to be the most popular. But there are others in this group that are equally delicious and nutrient dense and can add variety to your taste buds. Tangerines, pummel, clementine, mandarin, tangelo, lemon and lime are all cousins in the family of citrus.

All of these wonderfully refreshing fruits offer an abundance of health benefits:

• Flavonoids – antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Citrus flavonoids have been shown to improve blood flow through coronary arteries by reducing the formation of clots and plaque, decreasing the risk of stroke or heart attack.

Vitamin C – another powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals as well as aids in wound healing and chapped skin by contributing to the synthesis of collagen formation. Vitamin C also enhances the absorption of iron from food, this is especially important for vegetarian women.

• Potassium – plays a major role in the proper functioning of nerves, heart contractions (blood pressure), maintenance of fluid balance and bone mass and efficient carbohydrate metabolism.

Folate– required to make new cells including DNA and red blood cells.

To learn more about citrus fruit including fun facts, recipes, storage, selecting and preparing and purchasing on a budget, click here.

My challenge to you is to include at least one citrus fruit this week. If you already eat citrus regularly, take it up a notch and try a variety you have never experienced before! I think I might try a pummel this week.

Make it a healthy week and Go Skins!


I’d love to hear how WOW members incorporate citrus into their diets. Please share in the comment section below.

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