About The Buzz: Citrus fruit can help prevent the cold and flu?

January 13, 2016

TheBUZZ Citrus fruit can help prevent the cold and flu?


It’s cold and flu season and what you eat can make you feel better.


With cold and flu season in full swing, everyone is in search of relief and a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of citrus can help keep your immune system in optimal condition to help your body stay healthy. While there is no evidence that vitamin C prevents the common cold, a summary of research studies suggests that vitamin C may have a modest effect on shortening the duration or lessening the severity of a cold if it is consumed before the onset of illness.* During cold and flu season it is best to up your intake of vitamin C, which is especially high in citrus fruit. Just one medium orange provides more than 100% of your daily vitamin C needs. But mix things up and increase your vitamin C intake by snacking on citrus varieties like navel oranges, minneolas, mandarins, grapefruit, and more which are at peak availability during cold and flu season. Also, consuming vitamins, minerals and other nutrients through whole foods assures an optimal balance of nutrients, rather than running the risk of excess through the use of supplements.


Perhaps Mother Nature knew what she was doing when peak production of citrus coincided with peak cold and flu season! Be familiar with the varieties of available citrus and be sure to get plenty of them in your diet.

    Navels: Universally considered the best oranges for eating out-of-hand, seedless navels have juicy flesh, easy-to-peel rinds and no seeds. All navels have an opening at the blossom end of the fruit that resembles a belly button – hence the name “navel.” Available November through June. Check out our Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Oranges

    Valencias: Generally a summertime fruit, Valencias are heavy with juice, the ultimate orange for making juice. Peak availability in North America is July through October.

    Minneolas: Nicknamed “The Honeybell” because of its bell shape, the Minneola tangelo is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. Its large size and slightly elongated “neck” make it easy to recognize. The most popular of the tangelos, seedless Minneolas are brimming with sweetly tart juice.

    This portable, petite, easy-to-peel fruit is popular among all ages because it is seedless, sweet and juicy. One mandarin equals ¼ cup of juice. There are two mandarin varieties: Clementines (available November through January) and W. Murcotts (available February through May). Tangerines are also a variety of mandarin.

    The outer peel ranges from pale yellow to pink, with pulp ranging from white to deep red. Peak season from November through April. A half a grapefruit is equivalent to 4-6 ounces of juice. Add grapefruit to your dishes with this handy prep tip. Check out these fun ways to enjoy grapefruit:

    Red Grapefruit and Avocado Sushi Bowls
    Tuna Steaks with Red Grapefruit and Mint Relish
    Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Grapefruit and Artichokes

    Available year-around, these are great for zesting, adding to tea and water, flavor, and as a salt substitute. See how to make a citronette salad dressing and how to boost their juice.

    In addition to eating citrus fruit and other fruit and veggies as part of a healthy diet, remember these other important tips to help reduce the risk of getting the cold or the flu:

    1. Get the seasonal flu vaccine
    2. Wash your hands
    3. Cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow, not your hands
    4. Exercise regularly
    5. Don’t smoke
    6. Relax and get adequate rest


*Hemila H, Chalker E (2013) “Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 4, No. CD000980. doi: 10.1002/14651858

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