A Secret Ingredient for Winter Wellness

When winter comes around, so do large snowfalls and chilly temperatures. This pushes most of the population to hunker down and stay wrapped in cozy blankets to avoid the weather, but staying inside shouldn’t mean forgoing healthy habits. If anything, winter is when we need to be more conscious of what we are putting into our bodies. This time of year, immune systems are weaker due to the weather and lack of sunlight, so it is extremely important to take care of your body. One of the best ways to look after your winter wellness is to promote nutritional value in every meal. It is ok to indulge in comfort foods occasionally, but always try to include foods that boost your immunity and nutrients. This will keep you and your family healthiest this winter season.

The Magic of Vitamin C

The best winter food to promote immunity is oranges! Oranges are the number one source of Vitamin C. They are an essential source of nutrients that support a healthy lifestyle but are especially important during the cold and flu season. Just one 8-ounce serving of orange juice provides more than 100% of your daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for your overall health. It is vital that your body gets enough of it as it is necessary for immune function, collagen synthesis, and iron absorption. Oranges are also a great source of potassium, folate and thiamin, calcium. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants, meaning that the high concentration of Vitamin C is great for a healthy digestive system and developing tissue.

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Oranges have general antioxidants, but they also have specific kinds of antioxidants called flavonoids. According to the USDA, oranges and most citrus contain a specific flavonoid called hesperidin that is rarely found in other foods besides citrus. 100% orange juice is virtually the only dietary source of this unique, powerful, naturally occurring flavonoid. Conveniently, this specific flavonoid, hesperidin, helps support a healthy immune system.

A Morning Glass of Orange Juice

Drinking orange juice or just plain eating an orange are two of the best ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin C. You can buy orange juice that is fortified with extra vitamins if you need more than just your dose of Vitamin C. Some orange juice also contains 15% of the daily value of Vitamin D, which plays an important role in regulating immune response and helps cells fight off bacteria and viruses that enter the body. But whenever possible, try to be sure that the oranges or orange juice that you are drinking or eating are all-natural and not from concentrate. Most juices from concentrate don’t contain the vitamins that freshly squeezed juice does. Concentrate juice usually contains an excess amount of sugar and none of the fiber that is in oranges or freshly squeezed orange juice.

Help keep you and your family healthy by maintaining a well-balanced diet packed full of foods that contain extra nutrients and vitamins. Your body is going to need all the help it can get to fight off sickness this winter season. Making sure that you are getting 100% of your daily dose of Vitamins C and D will aid your body and build up its strength against unwanted bacteria and viruses. Getting these vitamins and nutrients can happen in many different ways. Try the recipes below for ways to incorporate oranges into your winter diet.

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This Orange Honey Glazed Carrots recipe is a fantastic way to keep your body warm and it’s a nutritional, naturally sweet way to incorporate orange juice into your winter menu.

Orange juice is also a go-to ingredient for popular non-alcoholic drinks, like this Orange Juice Mint Mocktail, a perfect pairing for winter meals.

Orange Honey Glazed Carrots

  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
  • fresh chives, for garnish
  1. Steam carrots until tender.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, whisk orange juice, honey, cornstarch, salt, and ginger.
  3. Cover, whisking constantly until sauce thickens.
  4. Pour sauce over steamed carrots. Top with parsley and chives.

Orange Juice Mint Mocktail

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup carbonated water
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  1. In pitcher, stir orange juice, lemon juice and water.
  2. Divide mocktail evenly among ice-filled glasses and top with carbonated water.
  3. Garnish with mint leaves.

 

References:

Florida Department of Citrus

Vitamin C: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions (verywellhealth.com)

Oranges 101: Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts (healthline.com)

Flavonoids: Sources, Functions, and Benefits (verywellhealth.com)

Hesperidin: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage (verywellhealth.com)

Author
Olivia Salzwedel

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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