The Power of Citrus

Winter is not generally thought of as high season for fruit, but a tasty exception is citrus. Cold temperatures outside mean citrus fruits are ready for harvest bringing not only their bright flavors but also a major nutritional boost for those who consume them.

Citrus fruits are loaded with many nutrients including Vitamin C which appears to help the body fight off viruses by bolstering the immune system. This is obviously important during the cold months when cold, flu and other viruses are in higher circulation.1

Daily Vitamin C recommendations for people over age 51 are: 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.

Regardless of season, it’s a good idea to try to consume at least one good Vitamin C source daily. Regular consumption of citrus fruit is a tasty way to meet your goal.

Vitamin C Content of Citrus Fruits

FoodVitamin C2
1 medium Navel Orange59 mg
1 medium Cara Cara Orange82 mg
2 medium fresh Mandarin Oranges23 mg
½ cup canned Mandarin Oranges43 mg
½ fresh Pink Grapefruit45 mg
1 oz Lemon juice11 mg
1 oz Lime juice9 mg
3 fresh Kumquats25 mg

In addition to Vitamin C, citrus fruits are loaded with naturally occurring chemicals called flavonoids. These compounds appear to reduce the incidence of oxidative and inflammatory processes that can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases.3

Citrus fruits are available year-round, but in the northern hemisphere they are at their best (and cheapest!) in the winter season. Look for citrus with smooth, unblemished skin, even coloring and heavy weight for their size. Heavier citrus means more juice and more flavor.

According to the FDA, grapefruit has negative interactions with certain drugs including those that lower cholesterol (simvastatin, atorvastatin), blood pressure drugs (nifedipine) and heart drugs (amiodarone). Ask your physician or pharmacist if you can safely eat grapefruit or grapefruit products if you take any prescription medications.4

1Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211. PMID: 29099763; PMCID: PMC5707683.
2Nutrient profiles from USDA Food Data Central
3Mahmoud AM, Hernández Bautista RJ, Sandhu MA, Hussein OE. Beneficial Effects of Citrus Flavonoids on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Mar 10;2019:5484138. doi: 10.1155/2019/5484138. PMID: 30962863; PMCID: PMC6431442.