Citrus Fruits: Healthy Varieties for the Winter

Citrus fruits are one of the most popular types of fruit in winter. Brightly colored oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and other varieties are in the shops. They are healthy and important sources of vitamins during the cold season. Above all, citrus fruits contain a lot of vitamin C, vitamins from the B group, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and so-called pectins. Since citrus fruits are mainly eaten raw, the valuable components are usually completely preserved.

Pectins can lower cholesterol levels

These vegetable multiple sugars (polysaccharides) are found in the white skin of citrus fruits and are valuable dietary fiber for humans. They prevent ravenous hunger attacks and thus counteract obesity, can lower the cholesterol level through complex formation, and help with diarrhea. In addition, citrus fruits contain flavonoids that protect our cells.

Vitamin C in citrus fruits

There is a lot of vitamin C in citrus fruits. 100 grams of fruit contain:

  • Lemons: 55 milligrams (mg)
  • Orange: 50 mg
  • Lime: 45 mg
  • Grapefruit: 40 mg
  • Cumquat: 35 mg
  • Tangerine: 30 mg

For comparison

  • Apple: 10 mg
  • black currant: 175 mg

The daily requirement for an adult is 100 milligrams.

Dangerous combination: grapefruit and drugs

Anyone taking medication should be aware of possible interactions with grapefruit. Although it is healthy, it also contains so-called furanocoumarins. These substances ensure that certain drugs reach the bloodstream from the intestine in much higher doses than intended. The result can be a dangerous overdose of the drug. That concerns, for example

  • the cholesterol-lowering drugs atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin
  • Blood pressure medicines such as nifedipine or felodipine
  • the anticoagulants clopidogrel, ticagrelor and rivaroxaba
  • the antibiotic erythromycin.

Even some cancer drugs, drugs that suppress the immune system, and strong pain relievers are affected by grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Anyone taking medication should therefore read the package insert carefully and, if in doubt, avoid grapefruit and its juice.

Chemistry on the peel of citrus fruits

Chemical residues can be found on the peel of citrus fruits in varying amounts:

  • With organically grown citrus fruits, neither sprays nor preservatives are used for ripening or preservation – this reduces the pollution enormously
  • Citrus fruits from traditional (conventional) cultivation are treated with pesticides all year round, often waxed and sometimes colored. The pesticides are on and in the peel. When you peel them with your hands, they are easily transferred to the pulp and get into the food.
  • Wash unpeeled fruit carefully under hot water. After peeling, wash hands with warm water and soap. Only give small children fruit that has already been peeled.

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