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Celebrate Citrus

Did you know that Heinen’s celebrates citrus fruit every February and March? In partnership with Melissa’s Produce—the largest distributor of specialty produce in the U.S.—unique citrus varieties are featured alongside tasty recipes and meal ideas.

Types of Citrus Fruit

Citrus fruit includes lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. Some of the more unique varieties you’ll want to experience are blood oranges, mandarins, kumquats, tangerines, and pummelos. 

Why citrus fruit?

Besides their refreshing and uplifting scent, citrus fruit offers a healthy dose of immune-boosting vitamin C.  They also contain antiviral phytonutrients called citrus limonoids – natural plant chemicals that can help ward off the common cold and flu bug.

Once metabolized by the body, citrus fruit promotes alkalinity, which can balance the body’s pH and protect against disease.

In whole fruit form, citrus is a wonderful source of soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material, which can support healthier cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, and decreased inflammation. All of these benefits are related to a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Citrus fruit may also help improve digestive health, boost brain function, and prevent kidney stones. This is why I recommend drinking a tall glass of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice mixed in right after you wake up.

The greatness of grapefruit

Grapefruit doesn’t always get the love it deserves. For example, did you know that one grapefruit has as much potassium as a small banana? One of the most important minerals in the body, potassium is a key regulator for many bodily functions, including regulating fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals.

The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient that has the power to fight cell-damaging compounds called free radicals.

Celebrate citrus with these ideas

Citrus is so much more than a tall glass of orange juice at breakfast. Opportunities to incorporate citrus are plentiful and should be in whole-fruit form—that means go for the orange over orange juice! Here are some easy ideas to get you started.  

Add:

  • Peeled and chopped grapefruit segments to plain yogurt and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.
  • Orange sections to salads with a few slices of avocado and sliced almonds.
  • A glass of water with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to your morning routine. Drink it down right after you wake up!
  • A splash of lemon to any fish.
  • A squeeze of orange to mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Broil grapefruit and serve at Sunday brunch. Check out this recipe for Broiled Maple & Rosemary Grapefruit.

Replace:

  • Sugary beverages with citrus-infused water. Simply add a wedge or two of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit to your water or club soda and let the flavor seep out!  

Food for thought

Citrus fruits are juicier when slightly warm, so store at room temperature if you plan to eat them soon. If storing for a longer period, place it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. It should keep for several weeks.

Melanie Jatsek
By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. She graduated cum laude from the University of Akron, earning a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and has over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking. As a published author of three books and registered dietitian for Heinen’s Grocery Store, Melanie offers programs, services, and tools to help Heinen’s customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in…without giving up their favorite foods.

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