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Citrus Nutrition Information & Recipes

citruses-1471993Citrus fruit belong to the family of Rutaceae and include Oranges (Sweet and Bitter), Mandarins, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit.

Tangerines and Clementines are cultivars of Mandarins, a group of citrus fruit that are easy to peel. Citrus fruit originated in China hence the name Mandarin. Tangerines, Citrus reticulate, were first cultivated in North Africa hence its name derived from the town of Tangiers.  Clementines are a seedless Mandarin that were also cultivated first in North Africa at the turn of the 20th Century by a French monk Père Clément Rodier and named after him. Today these delicious fruits are grown all around the world, including in California. All Mandarins are naturally sweet and an exceptionally good source of Vitamin C.

The nutritional value of Clementines (per 100 grams/3.5 ounces)

  • Calories: 47
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
  • Natural Sugars: 9.8 g
  • Vitamin C: 48.8 mg (58% RDA)

Lemons, Citrus limon, also are exceptionally good sources of Vitamin C.  The zest is a rich source of volatile oils limonene and naringenin.  These have anti-inflammatory properties.  Lemon is 5% citric acid and lower in natural sugars than most other citrus fruits.  The juice and zest are both widely used in culinary and confectionery foods as well as in beverages.

The nutritional value of a Lemon (1 small)

  • Calories: 17
  • Natural Sugars: 1.45 g
  • Vitamin C: 43 mg (51% RDA)

Limes, Citrus aurantifolia, are a dessert fruit used in beverages, chutneys and other sauces, pickles and marmalade.   Sailors would consume limes, oranges and lemons to prevent scurvy.  Even though Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) was not discovered until the 20th Century, the protective value of citrus juice was appreciated and helped provide a benefit for early ocean navigators.   An interesting review of the literature around early prevention of scurvy and how important that was historically can be found at http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/67/6/315.long

Ceviche (8 servings)

  • 1 lb (454 grams) raw shrimp
  • ½ cup sweet red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 small Chile peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 medium size avocado, chopped
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 2 lemons, 2 limes and 1 Valencia orange
  • 1 cup diced peeled cucumber

Cook shrimp by adding to a large saucepan filled with water and ¼ cup sea salt. Bring to a boil then immediately remove, allowing the shrimp to cook through.  In 3 minutes drain the shrimp and once cooled chop into ½ inch sized pieces and place in a large glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the lemon, lime and orange juice.  Stir in the chopped cucumber, onion and chiles.  Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.  Add chopped tomato, avocado and cilantro leaves.  Season with salt and ground white pepper to taste.  Add olive oil and garnish with cilantro leaves and sliced lemon butterflies (thin slices cut in half then quarters with central piece intact)  Serve as a side dish or appetizer.

Nutrition: 130 calories per serving ; 13 g protein; 12 g fat (2 g saturated; 8 monounsaturated); 86 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 2 g dietary fiber

Kamut and Quinoa Pasta with Thyme and Lemon Zest (4 servings)

  • 8 ounces of Kamut and Quinoa Twisted Pair Pasta
  • 1 ½ cups of bone broth
  • Water
  • Zest of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Bring bone stock, water and garlic to a boil in a large saucepan. Add pasta and cook for 12 minutes.   Drain and add finely chopped thyme and lemon zest.   Season to taste and serve either as a main dish with a side salad or as a side dish

Nutrition: 210 calories; 8 g protein; 2 g fat; 5 g dietary fiber.

Sparkling Lemon-Lime Margarita (2 servings)

  • 8 fluid ounces of sparkling water
  • Juice of ½ lemon and ½ lime
  • 4 ounces Sugar free margarita mix (Baja Bob’s is a good one)
  • Tequila (optional)
  • Lime slice garnish
  • Sugar or salt for rim of glass

Chill glasses with ice cubes or place glasses in the freezer for a few minutes. Dip into salt or sugar to coat the rims of the glasses.  Add sparkling water and margarita mix .  Add tequila if desired.  Garnish with slice of lime.


For educational sessions conducted by Simms/Mann Center’s Integrative Oncology Specialist Carolyn Katzin, MS, CNS to help you get your nutrition questions answered and to develop an individually tailored plan to optimize wellness, go to: https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/?p=344

To schedule an appointment, email simmsmanncenter@mednet.ucla.edu

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