Beat winter with vitamin-rich citrus

Want to arm yourself for winter the natural way? As Coles Group Nutritionist and practising dietitian Kim Tikellis explains, natural vitamin C in citrus fruits helps boost immunity.

A flat lay shot of citrus fruit

Consider citrus fruits “insurance for your wellbeing”.

Mother nature may be sending winter chills our way, but there is an upside: winter is the best time for citrus fruits, naturally packed with antioxidant vitamin C to help boost immunity. Think about antioxidants as insurance for your wellbeing.

Fruits are important sources of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre for good health. Fruits, and veggies too, are nutrient-dense and include plant phytochemicals, such as antioxidants. These power foods are low in fat and kilojoules for healthy weight maintenance.

Simply by enjoying more fresh fruit and veggies, you can boost your intake for heart health and help preserve your eyesight. All fruit contains antioxidants but citrus, kiwifruit and berries are rich sources. 

For best results, follow the Government Australian dietary guidelines which recommend five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit each day. One serve of fruit is around half a cup, equal to a medium orange or two kiwifruits. The key is to enjoy a variety of fruit and veggies of all colours to ensure a good intake of naturally occurring nutrients.   

Did you know?

  • Vitamin C can enhance iron absorption, especially when eaten together with iron-rich foods such as meat, chicken, fish or seafood.
  • Grapefruit is not a magical slimming food: half a grapefruit contains approximately 125 kilojoules (30 calories), the same as half an orange.
  • Sweet-tasting and pre-packed in natural skin, fragrant mandarins make a convenient and nourishing snack option.
  • Like most fruits, mandarins have only a trace of fat, and are low in kilojoules or calories.
  • Lemon zest contains natural plant essential oils such as aromatic citrus terpenes and citral, released on grating lemon peel.
  • Oranges contain gut-healthy soluble fibre plus potassium for nerve and muscle function.
  • Citrus fruits were included as food cargo on exploration ships, providing Vitamin C to promote wound healing, and ensure the health of sailors on long overseas journeys.
  • And Vitamin C in freshly squeezed orange juice deteriorates quickly so always squeeze and drink on demand!

Top tips:

  • A squeeze of lemon or lime juice can prevent browning on a cut banana, avocado or apple – that’s the natural antioxidants in citrus juice slowing down the browning enzyme reaction.
  • Top fresh navel orange segments with toasted almonds, Greek yoghurt and cinnamon for a nourishing dessert.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to freshly steamed broccoli to balance flavour, a top tip to encourage young children to enjoy their greens.
  • Grapefruit too sour for your tastebuds?  Grill grapefruit halves with a touch of honey to sweeten and enjoy warm.