Lemon, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, lime … Citrus fruits, so present in the Mediterranean diet, are rich in vitamin C and bioactive compounds, very beneficial for the body.
Laura González, Nestlé’s Head of Nutrition and Health, talks in El Bisturí about the properties of lemons and other citrus fruits and reminds that the fruit should be eaten whole, and not in juice, to get the most out of it.
On this occasion, “El Abecedario de la Nutrición” focuses on these fruits characterized by their more or less acid taste and by the presence of essential oils in their skins and citric acid in their pulp, mostly.
These foods are rich in vitamin C and bioactive compounds, substances to which favorable functions for the body are attributed.
As for its consumption, it is recommended raw and fresh , although it is also usual to take them in the form of juices, and its essential oils are very valuable for pastries and cocktails.
The lemon is native to China and India and was introduced to the Mediterranean basin by the Arabs.
There are many varieties depending on the size and color of its fruit, although in Spain the one that is most consumed is the large yellow one , with a thick and somewhat rough skin, very aromatic, and whose pulp has few seeds.
The ideal production time is between February and September, although it is available in our markets all year round.
“Regarding its nutritional value, it stands out for its high content of vitamin C, fiber and other bioactive substances. Although it is important to note that the fiber is concentrated mainly in the white part under the shell, where other substances that are very beneficial to health are also concentrated, such as limonoids or flavonoids ”, points out the nutritionist
When it comes to buying good lemons, they must be firm, appearing heavy for their size. Green to yellow in color, bright skin, with a strong citrus aroma and without drying wrinkles.
As for their conservation, they can be perfectly left at room temperature for several weeks, but they dehydrate easily in very dry environments.
Does lemon water help you lose weight on an empty stomach?
In recent times, the belief has spread that drinking a glass of water with lemon on an empty stomach helps in weight loss and detoxifies the body. However, Laura González makes it clear: it is just a myth .
“It is true that lemon is a citrus fruit with very little caloric content and rich in vitamin C and antioxidant substances, but drinking water with lemon, whether cold or warm, fasting or at any other time of the day, does not lose weight or is detox ”, he warns.
Other citrus fruits: orange and tangerine
Orange and mandarin are the most consumed citrus fruits in Spain.
The juice orange season runs from November to September and the table orange season from October to June. However, that of mandarins starts earlier, in September, and lasts until May, depending on the variety.
To choose the best ones you have to select them like lemons, well hydrated, shiny skin, with a strong citrus aroma and without drying wrinkles.
Regarding their nutritional properties, they stand out for being rich in vitamin C and a source of fiber . In addition, like other citrus fruits, they contain bioactive compounds belonging to the family, such as carotenes and flavonoids.
The fruit, better whole than in juice
Laura González, head of Nutrition and Health at Nestlé, points out that excessive consumption of fruit juices and smoothies can enhance the consumption of free sugars and increase the risk of obesity.
“Chewing food makes its nutrients, including sugars, absorbed more slowly, in addition to providing a greater feeling of satiety. If they are taken in the form of juice, it should not exceed a glass of 150 milliliters a day ”, explains the nutritionist.
Remember that nectars and other fruit drinks, whether or not they contain added sugar, are not within the recommendations of five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, and should be avoided.
“It is necessary to know that, although the juice contains part of the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables from which they come, the sugar that they contribute is calculated in the diet as free sugar, which is equivalent to added sugar”, he warns.
This does not happen with the one contained in whole fruits and vegetables, in addition to containing fiber.