Citrus fruit — oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, tangelos and grapefruit — are one of nature’s best sources of vitamin C. (Getty Images)

Citrus fruit — oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, tangelos and grapefruit — are one of nature’s best sources of vitamin C. (Getty Images)

‘C’ is for citrus — and that’s good enough for everybody

Among other good things, Vitamin C strengthens saggy skin. Just make sure you get in the form of fresh fruit, not pills.

  • Wednesday, October 13, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

By Barbara Intermill / Monterey Herald

I get these ah-ha moments at the weirdest times. During my afternoon tea break at work, I decided to add a small packet of lemon juice to my iced tea. “That’s pretty good,” I realized. “Why don’t I do this more often?”

I then admitted to myself that — besides the lemon I squeeze in water at restaurants — my current intake of fruit, especially citrus fruit, has been lacking. So I’ve missed out on a lot of nutrients and their resulting health benefits.

Nutritionally, citrus fruit — oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, tangelos and grapefruit — are one of nature’s best sources of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants protect our cells from the damage caused by … living. Vitamin C also boosts our immune system to fight off germs and viruses.

When you think of C, think collagen — a protein produced with the help of vitamin C that helps strengthens sagging skin (I need that). Vitamin C is also vital in the process of knitting skin back together and healing wounds.

If you’re at least 19 years of age, you need 75 milligrams of vitamin C a day if you are female; males need 90 milligrams. One cup of yummy orange slices provides 98 milligrams of Vitamin C. Score!

Citrus fruits are also excellent forms of dietary fiber (something we don’t get in vitamin supplements). Fiber feeds the good bacteria in our guts that helps keep us well and can even keep a raging appetite in check.

Citrus fruits also supply folate, the natural form of folic acid, a B vitamin. This nutrient is particularly important during pregnancy since it is needed for normal growth of brains and spinal cords.

OK, OK, I get the message. That squeeze of lemon into my water or tea doesn’t add a lot of vitamin C to my day. But every little bit counts, right?

I’m also going to put lemons on my shopping list. Growers say they are always in season because most varieties grow year-round.

And I’ll try this “s’alternative” recommended by the Sunkist folks ( to lessen the salt load in some of my recipes. Let’s say a vegetable dish calls for 1 teaspoon of salt. Instead, I’ll use just ¼ teaspoon of salt and add ½ teaspoon of lemon zest, grated from the outside of the lemon. Then at the end of cooking, I’ll add 2½ teaspoons of lemon juice to my recipe. Research shows this process can reduce sodium by 75% as well as boost the flavor and color of my veggies. It also works for grains, fish, meat, soups and dressings. Find the chart at

What I really need to do is swap some of my less nutritious snacks for a juicy orange. In fact, I think I’ll go peel one of those mandarin oranges sitting in my fridge right now.

Barbara Intermill is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition.” Email her at

Talk to us

More in Life

After 43 years, Robb Hunt is retiring as Village Theatre's executive producer. (Village Theatre)
The Village Theatre’s Robb Hunt to retire after 43 years

He brought the Issaquah-based theater’s award-winning productions to Everett in 1994.

"Washington Farm," ca. 1934 Oil on canvas, 27 1/2 × 33 1/2 in. Collection of Lindsey and Carolyn Echelbarger, promised gift to Cascadia Art Museum
Edmonds museum spotlights Japanese-American artist’s journey

Kenjiro Nomura’s art ranges from pre-war impressions to post-war abstractions — and images from inside WWII internment camps.

Anya Taylor-Joy, left, and Thomasin McKenzie in "Last Night in Soho." MUST CREDIT: Parisa Taghizadeh/Focus Features
‘Last Night in Soho’ a stylish, blood-soaked ode to ‘60s London

Director Edgar Wright peppers the cast with icons of the era, including Terence Stamp and the late Diana Rigg in her last film role.

Gene Simmons impersonator, Jack Murrin practices on there bass guitar at his storage building on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 in Everett, Washington. Murrin, 51, a firefighter and impersonator, is putting on a 2-hour KISS concert with 19 songs in front of his north Everett home on Halloween.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
The Demon: Gene Simmons imitator hosts a free Kiss concert

Everett firefighter and paramedic Jack Murrin will return to the stage for a Halloween show at his home.

Simple recipes for gluten-free baked goods — even bread — yes, really

“Cannelle et Vanille” blogger Aran Goyoaga has written a cookbook of straightfoward bakes without gluten.

A.J. Croce, son of the late Jim Croce, is scheduled to perform Nov. 20 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Sir Mix-a-Lot, ZZ Top and Bands, Brews and Bowling at Evergreen Lanes in Everett.

The Jimmy Wright Band is scheduled to play a Halloween Party on Oct. 30 at Pub 282 on Camano Island. (YouTube)
Where to hear live music in Snohomish County nightclubs

The listings include Engel’s Pub, Mirkwood Public House and Port Gardner Bay Winery shows.

Peter Rivera, the original lead singer and drummer for Rare Earth, will perform Nov. 6 with his band at the Historic Everett Theatre. (Peter Rivera)
Tickets for sale in Snohomish County and around the region

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

See Dawn Cornell as Judge Laura Wargrave and Bill Kusler as Gen. John Mackenzie in Red Curtain's production of "And Then There Were None," showing at the Marysville theater through Nov. 3. (Larry T. Lisk)
Theater, dance and comedy shows around Snohomish County

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

Most Read