If ever there’s a time of year to enjoy fruit shopping, it’s now. The stalls are packed with exciting-looking fruit that you long to cut into – particularly of the citrus variety. Take a look: there are oranges, kinnus (maltas), mosambis, grapefruit, lemon and lime.
If you have a good memory, you’ll recall your grandmother telling you that an orange or lime a day in winter would keep a cold away. Well, that’s true. And more than a cold – citrus fruits are associated with a host of good properties, building immunity, preventing heart disease and generally contributing to a healthier you. Here’s why:
“Citrus fruits have the highest concentration of vitamin C in comparison with other fruits,” says Jyoti Arora, head dietician at Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon. “And vitamin C helps increase immunity.”
Vitamin C has even more to offer, according to doctor, nutritionist and Brunch columnist Dr Shikha Sharma. “It is known for its antioxidant properties and is also essential for healthy skin, bones and connective tissue,” she says. “It also plays an important role in healing wounds and has anti-carcinogenic (cancer-fighting) properties. Besides this, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so a deficiency can lead to anemia.”
“Potassium helps the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves and digestive system to function properly,” explains Deepika Kohli, dietician and lactation counselor at Jeevan Anmol Hospital, New Delhi. “If your diet is not a healthy and balanced one, eating citrus fruits like oranges can help replenish a potassium deficiency.”
Citrus fruits are also a good source of calcium. “One serving of a citrus fruit provides a good percentage of calcium,” says Arora. “However, make sure you don’t cook these fruits because if you do, they’ll lose that calcium. Amla is the only citrus fruit that has heat-resisting properties and so is able to retain its nutrients. So you could add amla to dals and vegetables and make the most of it.”
“A high-fibre diet normalises bowel function (helps eliminate constipation and is good for irritable bowel syndrome), lowers blood cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar levels also,” says Kohli. There is a caveat though: you’ll have no fibre benefit if you insist on having your fruit as a juice.
- From HT Brunch, Januray 9
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