Apples get all the credit for keeping doctors away, but citrus fruits’ nutritional benefits can’t be dismissed. To make things even easier, nature has already prepared them in bite-sized pieces. Whether you’re looking to fight off a cold (remember the classic, talking orange juice carton advising you drink up?), get fresh-looking skin, or add more cancer-fighting powers to your vegan diet, citrus can help. You get vitamin C, antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, and more—it’s a sweet and sour offer that’s hard to refuse.
Oranges: The usual go-to fruit for runny nose days, oranges are renowned for their vitamin C content. The brightly colored fruit also has a variety of phytonutrients, one of which—hesperidin—has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Since most of the hesperidin is found in the peel and inner white pulp, try making some Orange Creamsicle Popsicles for a quick snack.
Mandarins: These easy-to-peel little bites are packed with loads of antioxidants and nutrients. Studies have also found that the fruit’s juice has anti-cancer properties, preventing Hepititus-C patients from developing liver cancer. Researchers also found that higher mandarin orange consumption leads to lower risk of liver disease, hardened arteries, and insulin resistance associated with diabetes.
Grapefruits: Eating half a grapefruit before every meal is more than just a weight-loss tip. The pink-colored citrus is ranked amongst the highest for antioxidants and contains the phytonutrients liminoid, which inhibits tumors, and naringenin, which repairs DNA in human prostate cancer cells. Plus, studies have found grapefruits reduce kidney stone risk, protect against colon cancer, and boost liver enzymes. That’s a lot of fight for one fruit. When the weather permits, make Citrus Bliss Ice Pops for a fun treat.
Pomelos: More than a symbol of good luck, the biggest of the citrus family aids the digestive process, can relieve problems ranging from fatigue to sore throat, and its peel has been found to stop cancer cells from spreading in breast cancer patients. Pomelos weigh up to 25 pounds, making a whole lot of healthful juice.
Lemons: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And use them to garnish your meals. And rub lemon balm on your skin. You get the picture. The often-understated lemon has a variety of healing properties and was even used by Romans to cure many poisons. Its high vitamin C content helps prevent and treat infections and speed the healing of fevers. Lemon is also a diuretic, beneficial for people prone to urinary tract infections and high uric acid problems, including arthritis and rheumatism. Mix it with coffee to cure a headache, or add to hot water to relieve nausea or heartburn.
Limes: While limes are a bit on the sour side eaten plain, the little green guys boast tons of health benefits. In the past, soldiers and sailors were given lime to prevent scurvy; even now those who work in polluting environments use limes for disease protection. Whether consumed or applied externally, lime juice and oils also rejuvenate skin and reduce body odor. Give yourself a lime scrub bath to freshen up!