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5 Reasons to Start Your Day with Citrus

Mouthwatering citrus fruits add nutrition and hydration to your wellness routine.

Remember that famous Latin phrase Squeeze the Day? Once you make citrus a go-to fruit, you’ll definitely want to squeeze, slice and juice your way to happiness with its versatility in the kitchen and its numerous health benefits.

You may be familiar with clementines, grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges, but cruise the produce section of your local grocer and explore the many other citrus fruits you’ll find: blood oranges, kumquats, mandarins, pomelos, tangelos, tangerines and satsumas, plus other exotic varieties from around the world like yuzu. If you’re looking for a little more zest, turn to citrus fruits because they’ll add bright and zingy flavors, as well as these benefits, to your day:

A Million and One Recipes: From sweet, sour and tart to bitter and tangy, there aren’t enough adjectives to describe the range of flavors in citrus—making them some of the most sought-after fruits in the world for today’s cuisines. You’ll find citrus inspirations in every food category from savory to sweet. A simple web search will turn up recipes for citrus-focused appetizers, salads, soups, vegetables, main dishes, seafood, jams and baked goods, as well as luscious drinks and cocktails. Mindful chefs find citrus incredible, too, and feature citrus flavors in many popular dishes, including: Basil-Lemon Chicken Breast & Couscous, Grapefruit Baked Tilapia with Wild Rice & Stuffed Tomat, Lettuce Wraps with Shrimp and Thai Lime Sauce and Orange, Beet & Arugula Salad.

A No-Prep Superfood: You can’t beat citrus’s convenience and portability! Most citrus fruit is at its peak from December to March, so you’ll find the juiciest fruits in stores in winter. Buy fruits that seem heavy for their size; the heavier they are, the more juice they contain. Look for blemish-free rinds (carefully inspect the fruits sold in boxes or net bags) and choose fruits with a strong, sweet smell. Be sure to wash citrus before peeling or cutting. 

You’ve Got a Friend in C: A nutritional powerhouse, vitamin C builds collagen for the body’s connective tissue, it aids in iron absorption to make hemoglobin and, as an antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals which may slow the aging process. And citrus’s antioxidant-rich flavonoids may help improve brain health. Along with vitamin C, there’s a galaxy of other vitamins and minerals found in citrus, including B vitamins, copper, folate, magnesium and potassium.

Hydration Station Sensation: Whether it’s trendy lemon water in the morning, OJ for brunch or an easy-peel clementine mid-morning, citrus fruits offer a juicy way to replenish the fluids you lost overnight or during your early-morning workout. To get you moving in the morning, drop a few lemon slices in your first glass of water for a tangy wake-me-up.

Look on the Bright Side: You can’t help but smile when you see the bold, sunny colors of citrus in your kitchen, especially in the morning and most definitely when dawn comes later during the winter months. From the orangiest oranges and lime greens on the outside to the subtle yellows and pinks on the inside, citrus fruit colors transport you to the tropics. And all of us can appreciate the lure of a tropical fruit on a tropical island on a tropical vacation—and, yes, citrus fruit can really do all that!

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