You have probably noticed the long line of vibrant oranges and giant pomelos in the produce aisle, so it’s no surprise that January is a great time for citrus. With many of these fruits in their peak season, they are relatively cheap at the nearest market. In addition to being a bargain, there are many other benefits as well!
Packed With Nutrients
Citrus fruits are excellent sources of several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, which supports a healthy immune system. Vitamin C helps to encourage your body to produce white blood cells that help fight infection. It’s essential to keep your body in top immune shape, especially in the winter!
Citrus is Great in Many Ways!
Some Citrus Recipes:
-Pomelo Chicken Dish
Other Health Benefits
Reduced risk for kidney stones - people are at higher risk of developing kidney stones with low citrate levels in their urine, and citrus fruits increase citrate levels, thus lowering your risk.
Reduced risk of certain cancers - citrus is high in flavonoids, which may help prevent certain types of cancer like stomach, pancreatic, and breast cancers.
Rich in Fiber - that is if you’re eating the whole fruit! When it comes to citrus, the fruit itself over fruit juice is a good reminder. Fruit juice tends to be higher in sugar, and while the fruit itself naturally contains sugar, fiber is good at slowing down the body’s absorption of sugar and preventing spikes in blood sugar.
While Citrus fruits are typically a great addition to the diet, some medications have been known to be affected by certain citrus fruits. Let’s talk about some drug-nutrient interactions, specifically with grapefruit!
The Grapefruit Effect:
Grapefruit contains particular naturally occurring chemical compounds that are known to interact with specific medications. The juice in grapefruits blocks the action of a type of enzyme in the body needed to metabolize certain drugs. Depending on how the medication is metabolized in the body, grapefruit juice can decrease some drugs’ effectiveness. In other cases, it can also prevent the medicine from being metabolized, which means the drug would enter and stay in the bloodstream longer, increasing the risk for drug toxicity and side effects.
Common drugs to have interactions with grapefruit juice (not a complete list!):
-certain statins for lowering cholesterol, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), Lovastatin (Mevacor), and Simvastatin (Zocor).
-Some blood pressure medications, including Nifedipine (Procardia), Losartan (Cozaar), and Eplerenone (Inspra)
-Medications to treat abnormal heart rhythms such as Amiodarone and Dronedarone (Multaq)
-Some mood medications such as Buspirone (Buspar) and Diazepam (Valium)
-Some antihistamines such as Fexofenadine (Allegra)
Everybody’s metabolism is different! It’s essential to read the medication guide on prescriptions or the drug facts label on your over the counter medicine. When in doubt, ask your healthcare provider if you should be avoiding certain citrus fruits, or how much is safe for you to have! Drugs.com also has a Drug Interactions Checker that can be used to look at drug interactions with food/beverages and other drugs.
For more info on grapefruit’s effect on medications:
Grapefruit Juice and Some Drugs Don't Mix
Whether standing on their own or added to liven up the main course, these delicious fruits never disappoint.
Wishing you a safe & healthy day!
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!