Struggling with a case of the winter blues? Your body might be craving a sunny pick-me-up from some delicious citrus. These tasty choices are in season now, so you’ll be able to find them at your local grocery store. Add these citrus fruits to your rotation for smoother skin, easier weight loss, healthier digestion, and a strong immune system!
Clementines soothe skin.
If harsh winter weather leaves your skin dry and tight, eating two clementines daily could kick-start healing in four days and help your skin look 40 percent smoother and softer within two weeks. University of Connecticut scientists credit the fruit’s bioflavonoids, compounds that improve circulation of nutrient-rich blood to the epidermal layer of skin.
Kumquats may help you lose weight.
Bite-size kumquats have a sweet-tart flavor, and adding two of these citrus fruits to each meal and snack could help you lose four pounds monthly, without dieting. University of Alabama researchers say kumquat skin nutrients (hesperidin and poncirin) block fat absorption in the digestive tract, plus boost the liver’s production of a compound that helps you burn food for energy.
Lime boosts digestion.
Incorporating a freshly squeezed lime into a snack or drink could ease indigestion, abdominal pain and other stomach symptoms in five minutes. British researchers say lime compounds (limonoids) prompt the release of digestive enzymes, plus they stimulate intestinal muscle contractions. Tip: Try stirring freshly squeezed lime juice and a drizzle of honey into a mug of black tea.
Cara caras enhance immunity.
Sweet, seedless cara caras boast 20 percent more vitamin C than traditional navel oranges, and up to 10 times more immunity-enhancing betacarotene than other citrus. UCLA scientists say one cara cara daily boosts levels of virus-fighting immune cells by 35 percent.
Need a tasty snack idea? For a treat, cut a peeled cara cara into 1 ⁄4 inch slices; place on a foil-lined cookie sheet and drizzle with vanilla, cinnamon and honey, then broil until bubbly. For a side, boil a pound of baby carrots until tender. Then, discard the water and add the juice of one cara cara and two tablespoons of butter. Add salt to taste.
Pink and red grapefruits lift mood.
If a cold, dreary winter day is dragging you down, savoring a pink or red grapefruit could help you feel 55 percent happier for up to three hours. Canadian researchers say these citrus fruits brim with lycopene and naringin, compounds that boost your brain’s production of the mood-elevating hormone serotonin. Plus, grapefruit may help you lose weight, too!
Tangerines ease anxiety.
When you’d love to sail through even hectic days feeling serene, try adding two tangerines to your daily diet. These tasty gems brim with aromatic oils that activate the brain’s tension-taming limbic system in just two minutes, say Stanford University researchers. More good news: Tangerine acids prompt your brain to release a relaxing neurotransmitter, GABA, increasing focus and calm by 45 percent.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.