You sure can tell when spring is here— Allergies. Colds. Diet ads promising to get you in shape for bikini season. Not our favorite things, for sure. Then there's the farmer's market, the local garden center opening their outdoor section and the birds chirping by your window. Now that's what we LOVE about spring!
Citrus fruits are filled with vitamin C, fiber, and a fresh taste. If want to truly capture all the benefits that citrus fruits can provide then try blending them whole with your green smoothies (just make sure they are organic if you do the peel and all).
- Vitamin C is good for beating the common cold and for bolstering your immune system.
- Fiber slows digesting, which means it is good for weight control by keeping you full and sustains blood sugar levels more evenly for those that struggle to fight diabetes.
- The fleshy parts of citrus fruits is where you find the fiber, which is one of the biggest reasons to blend them whole instead of using fruit juice.
The fresh and delightful taste of these citrus fruits will make this challenge a breeze, so we encourage you to try as many different kinds as you can. To help you do this we have made a list of our favorite citrus fruits, their benefits, and some “best practices” to help you blend away.
Health benefits of citrus:
When life gives you lemons, make green smoothies! Their tart flavor comes from citric acid which is a contributing factor in causing less kidney stones. Lemons are also a natural diuretic helping the body to flush fluids regularly. Don't be afraid to add a whole lemon to your smoothie–especially with sweet berries and fruits–for all the nutrients and natural flavors.
Ever thought of involving your kids in making green smoothies? Try using clementines! They are easy to peel, seedless, and have a sweet taste. They also contain fiber, potassium, and calcium for healthy bone growth and formation. Kids love making new concoctions of flavors, especially when they get to hit the button that says, “Blend.”
If you are looking to make a change from constantly eating fast food, then look no further than the orange. To go along with Vitamin C and fiber that come in all citrus fruits, they are low in calories, sodium free, and filled with potassium. This means that they keep you full, help to maintain and lose weight, and support a healthy blood pressure. Their nutrients and zesty taste make them a great partner for those raw leafy greens in your everyday smoothie.
Blood oranges are almost nutritionally identical to oranges, but vary in their color and taste. Their pulp is deeper red than an orange, and they contain a taste that is more similar to raspberries. One nutritional difference to highlight is that blood oranges contain a healthy amount of folate–Vitamin B9–which is essential to the early development of the fetus in pregnant women. For this reason we recommend nursing mothers to use blood oranges regularly in green smoothies.
The acids found in a lime are are a boost to skin and stomach health. These potent acids exfoliate skin, which help to shed dead skin cells from our body. Skin exfoliation is helpful during winter months when dry skin and dandruff seem unbeatable. Limes' potent acids also fight cholera, which is an intestinal infection caused by eating contaminated foods. Throw a lime in with a cilantro-based smoothie for a pleasant surprise!
Carotenoids, limonoids, pectin fiber. These are the all-star nutrients for grapefruits. Carotenoids are powerful with preventing disease and cancers. Limonoids turn toxins into material that can be easily flushed. Pectin fiber makes your heart happy by lowering cholesterol and risk of heart disease. A consistent diet of grapefruit will give your body a diverse amount of health benefits, not to mention a delicious, tangy flavor.
Tangelos carry similar benefits to many other citrus fruits, but some of their greatest may be in the bottom of your trash can. Though tangelo peels may carry a punch of tartness, they also carry coumarins and terpenes. These are phytochemicals that are known for their enhanced ability to fight cancer. Be careful! Not every blender is able to chew up citrus peels. Try cutting the peels up before throwing them into your pitcher to keep your motor and blades running smoothly.
The tangerine is another example of a citrus fruit with a power-packed peel. The fruit inside is low in fat and calories, cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and carries many cancer and disease fighting antioxidants. But the peel is especially effective with lowering bad cholesterol, while maintaining good cholesterol, which is an important distinction! Tangerines have a sought after sweet and tart taste, which makes them a great choice for your next green smoothie.
Sweet tip: If you want to truly capture all the benefits that citrus fruits can provide, then try blending them whole with your green smoothies (just make sure they are organic if you use the peel and all. Don't go crazy on the peels because the taste is strong (Jen figured that out the hard way).
All these citrus fruits carry a healthy dose of vitamin C and fiber, but many of them have their own, special traits that make them unique. We encourage you to try as many different varieties as you can! Look for which citrus fruits will give you the benefits that you need, and then experiment with different combinations to find something that you love. Giving your body the nutrients it needs is simple, fun, and tastes good, too! Cheers!