Give your senses a boost this month, and enjoy the taste, smell and brightness citrus fruits have to offer.
Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and clementines, are an excellent source of vitamin C. And vitamin C supports your immune system, which plays a role in maintaining healthy skin, bones and blood vessels. Vitamin C also improves absorption of iron when consumed with plant-based sources of iron, such as beans, lentils, leafy green vegetables, tofu and blackstrap molasses.
Citrus fruits contain soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which provide great benefits. Soluble fiber can support your cardiovascular health by reducing your low-density lipoprotein, or LDL or "bad," cholesterol levels, in turn reducing your risk of heart disease. Insoluble fiber supports your digestive system and can help alleviate constipation. Citrus fruits are also a source of potassium, thiamin, and trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Incorporating citrus into your day is easy, thanks to the tough outer rind and ability for most citrus fruits to be safely stored at room temperature for a few days. Try simply tossing an orange or a few small clementines into your bag for an on-the-go snack that doesn't require refrigeration. Grapefruit also makes a great addition to a leafy green salad, or try broiling a halved grapefruit with a sprinkle of brown sugar or drizzle of honey. Lemons and limes aren't often eaten whole, but they provide great flavor in fish, salad dressings, desserts and beverages.
Also, give these recipes a try:
AVOCADO GARDEN SALAD WITH LEMON DRESSING
6 cups mixed greens, torn or chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
5 green onions, copped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoons salt
Mix salad greens, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Whisk with a fork. Poor dressing mixture over salad mixture and toss together. Arrange avocado slices on top of the salad and serve immediately.
Nutritional information per 1½-cup serving: 78 calories; 5 g fat; 9 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 2 g protein; 124 g sodium.
(adapted from eatfresh.org)
2 grapefruit, cut in half
8 teaspoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to broil with oven rack 6 inches from the heat source. Place grapefruit halves cut, side up, onto baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Broil the grapefruit until the brown sugar has begun to melt and caramelize, approximately 8 minutes. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per ½-grapefruit serving: 100 calories; 0 g fat; 25 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 1 g protein; 6 mg sodium.
Get more healthy recipes from Mayo Clinic.