Citrus fruits and vegetables have undeniably become an essential part of our diet.
These bright coloured fruits are grown in spring and summer and are freshly harvested in winters.
Citrus fruits contain a natural concentration of citric acid in them along with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, phosphorus, carbohydrates, folate and fiber.
Their tangy, sweet and sour flavour makes them ideal to be added to a number of foods and beverages.
In today’s article, we bring you the ultimate list of citrus fruits and vegetables along with their importance, benefits, types, nutritional values and health risks.
The Importance of Citrus Fruits and Vegetables
These are just some of the many reasons you should include citrus fruits in your daily diet:
1. Enhances the Immunity System
Citrus fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C.
They help produce more white blood cells in the body.
Isn’t that the reason we look for oranges just after catching a cold?
A strong immune system, hence, fights infections and diseases.
Did you know, a large orange contains enough vitamin C for your daily nutritional requirements?
Squeeze it into a glass of delicious juice or peel and relish the pulp!
2. Helps Maintain Weight
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit contain very low calories and high fiber content.
This helps with losing weight in a healthy way by giving your body an adequate dose of vitamin C and fiber will keep you full for a pretty long time.
You can consume oranges in the form of a juice or squeeze a lemon in warm water with a teaspoon of honey in the morning as lemon also does wonders in speeding up your metabolism.
Spice up your dishes and salads by grating some orange zest on the top! Isn’t it an appetizing way to achieve your fitness goals?
3. Keeps the Heart Healthy
Citrus fruits and vegetables help keep your heart pumping.
They contain a good amount of potassium as well as flavonoids that help in maintaining normal blood pressure.
This prevents the occurrence of heart attacks and heart strokes.
Citrus fruits are also rich in antioxidants that help the heart stay fit and healthy.
4. Has Anti-Ageing Properties
Just as bright and juicy citrus fruits your skin will begin to glow after consuming these marvellous fruits.
Citrus fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and low in fats and calories which helps improve your skin.
According to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008, vitamin C in citrus fruits when consumed in good quantities lessen the appearance of wrinkles.
Moreover, consumption and application of citrus fruits, whether you consume a glass of orange juice or use shredded dried orange peels in a mask, will repair dead skin cells resulting in a glowing, bright and healthy skin.
5. Helps with Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
Expecting mothers who go through morning sickness can safely add citrus fruits in their diet.
The sour-tangy flavour of citrus fruits keeps morning sickness at bay.
Additionally, citrus fruits provide just the right nutrition to the body from vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6 that are necessary during pregnancy.
Make sure you consume only fresh juices as pre-packaged juices contain high levels of sugar and preservatives.
Benefits of Citrus Fruits and Vegetables
By now, you’re aware of the reasons why citrus fruits are essential for our body. Here are a few incredible benefits of consuming these wonderful fruits:
1. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
An extensive study conducted by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in 2016, ascertained that citrus fruits can be anti-cancer agents.
Flavonoids that are richly present in citrus fruits which ultimately fights cancers and tumours in the body.
Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is also an antioxidant preventing the growth of cancerous cells.
2. Reduces the Risk of Kidney Stones
The natural citric acid present in these wonder fruits helps in blocking the formation of stones that are caused by increased amounts of calcium and oxalate.
Citrus fruits keep you hydrated which can solve the cause of not drinking enough water.
Squeeze half a lemon in water or gulp down a glass of orange juice every day to keep your kidneys healthy.
3. Prevents dehydration
Imagine what a refreshing glass of orange or berries, a slice of juicy grapefruit or an energizing drink of lemonade would feel on a hot sultry afternoon?
Not only do they taste delicious but can refill your water loss and provide multiple vitamins and minerals.
Oranges itself contain 88% of water and grapefruits carry 91% water content.
Consuming these citrus fruits in the form of juice or blending it with water can reduce symptoms of dehydration like stress, headache and fatigue.
Get creative and don’t hesitate to try a new smoothie or a juice recipe!
4. Treats Acne
Did you know that citrus fruits are amongst the top fruits that assist in treating acne?
Most of the acne-treating beauty products have citrus extracts in them.
This is because citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Their antibacterial properties kill harmful bacteria present on the skin.
It also reduces any kind of redness or swelling.
Applying diluted lemon juice can be effective but may cause side effects based if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition.
Note: Please consult your dermatologist before applying diluted lemon juice to your skin.
The Ultimate List of Citrus Fruits and Vegetables
Citrus fruits are more than just oranges and lemons. We have curated a wonderful extensive list of citrus fruits and vegetables you should add to your cart!
Oranges are the most popular citrus fruits and guess what? There are four delicious, bright and appealing types of oranges!
Navel oranges are commonly found in markets.
They are easily confused with Valencia oranges because of their large sizes.
Thick-skinned, seedless but easy to peel, navel oranges can vary from sweet to bitter.
Navel oranges are best eaten fresh.
They can also be used for zesting and garnishes.
Valencia oranges are squeezed into a glass of our favourite orange juice.
They have a high pulp content making and they are available off-the season as well, making them the best oranges to juice.
Fun fact: A medium-sized Valencia orange holds around 60-65 calories. This means you can add it to your diet without any guilt!
It is ironic when the word ‘blood’ and ‘orange’ are put together because blood oranges are not really ‘orange’ in colour. That’s right!
Blood oranges have a beautiful ruby red coloured flesh that is pleasingly aromatic.
When completely matured, the taste of blood oranges is sweet and tangy in the right amounts.
Blood oranges will make a beautiful garnish on your salads, dishes and cakes.
We just love these small, cute and round oranges full of nutrients!
Mandarin oranges are sweeter than the other oranges and contain less citric acid.
They have loose skin making them easy to peel and are commonly eaten raw.
They make for a perfect add-on to salads and fruit bowls.
Pomelos are the largest citrus fruits.
They look like a pear with colours ranging from yellow to green.
The large size might seem daunting but this is only because of the thick and bitter membrane around the pulp.
The pulp, a bright pink juicy flesh, is generally sweet with either a lot of seeds or very few of them.
Pomelos are often eaten raw or made into a juice as the juice content is high (but relatively less than a grapefruit).
You can even use the peel of pomelo to make jams and marmalades.
Overall, Pomelos are full of vitamins and minerals and rich in antioxidants.
Grapefruits are incredible citrus fruits.
They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C making them the healthiest fruit out of the lot.
The taste of grapefruits can range from sweet-sour to bitter.
Grapefruits have a calorie content of as low as 45 and water content as high as 91%.
They can be juiced out or eaten raw.
They have a lot of benefits from enhancing your immune system and improving digestion to lowering blood sugar levels and aiding in weight loss.
However, the consumption of Grapefruits might not be suitable for everyone.
People who are on a certain medication, facing kidney problems and suffer from Gastritis should avoid consuming this fruit unless recommended by the doctor.
4. Key Lime
Yes, Key Lime is the hero of our very favourite key lime pie!
Key limes are comparatively smaller than regular lemons.
They are even more bitter, tangier and contain lots of seeds.
They are often more acidic and less juicer.
Owing to the aromatic fragrance of key limes, they are best used as garnishes or a sweet-tangy topping in desserts.
Fragrant and aromatic, Citrons are full of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Compared to other citrus fruits, Citrons have a small core of pulp however, a thick, bumpy, white pith and yellow-green colour peel.
The flavour of citron can be sweet-tangy and slightly bitter whereas the thick pith is largely used for preparing essential oils owing to its aroma.
There are various culinary uses of this ancient fruit. Some of them are listed below:
Citron zest can spice up any dish like pasta or baked foods and can be sprinkled on top of salads to enhance the flavour and bring out the best of colours.
Make sure you wash them well before scrapping the peel.
Marmalades and Jams
Citrons can make delicious marmalades and jams balancing the sweet-tangy flavour altogether.
It is effortless to prepare, and you can store it in the fridge for a long time.
Citron jams also make healthy spreads on toasts and toppings on cakes and pastries.
Surprisingly, Citrons make excellent sauces for your favourite dishes.
Citron sauces are prepared by adding spicy flavours that result in a crisp and fresh taste.
They can be topped on chicken or fish and even used as a dressing on salads.
Citron oil is made from the thick white pith of the citron fruit.
This oil is traditionally used for antibacterial purposes.
The sweet-delicate, fresh aroma is known for stress-relieving abilities.
Citron oil must be used undertaking several precautions such as keeping away from sensitive areas.
You can also find Citron oil blended with other ingredients and fragrance like bay leaf, rose, lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, etc.
6. Rough Lemon
This unique and rare citrus fruit is a variant of lemon.
A hybrid between orange and citron, Rough Lemon is a medium-sized fruit with an irregular core.
It is moderately acidic and tastes sweet-tangy.
A mature Rough Lemon is bright green-yellow in colour.
Rough lemon can be used as zests on top of meat or fish and can be squeezed into lemon juice or a fresh iced tea.
Clementines are small-sized citrus fruits resembling mandarine oranges.
They often have a sweet flesh and less acid content.
Clementines are a perfect go-to fruit because they are easy to peel and are often seedless.
It is recommended to include Clementines in children’s diet as they are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and an excellent source of fiber.
Additionally, they can be used to make cakes, ice creams, smoothies among other things.
8. Sweet Lemon
Sweet Lemon is also known as Mosambi in some parts of the world such as India.
They are green coloured, medium-sized fruits with very less acid content and a sweet taste.
Sweet lemons make delicious juices that help with digestive ailments, constipation, improving the health of bones, skin and eyes.
They provide a boost of nutrition like vitamin C, iron, potassium and calcium.
A refreshing glass of Mosambi juice is all you need!
They might look like oranges but do not be fooled! Most importantly, do not forget to add them into your shopping cart.
A tangelo is a wonderful citrus fruit.
It contains an adequate amount of vitamin C that an adult requires in one day.
They are juicy, have a sweet pulp and come in dark orange colour.
They can be added to any of your favourite dishes or desserts to give a delicate, sweet taste.
You can definitely include it in your diet plan as they are low-calorie fruits and provide a good amount of fiber to the body.
Kumquats are small, orange-coloured, grape-like citrus fruits.
Unlike other fruits, the flesh produces almost a sour to bitter taste while the peel is sweet.
This is why Kumquats are eaten wholly, without peeling them.
They are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
You can make marmalades and jams out of kumquats but most often, it is usually eaten raw.
However, you can slice them, remove the seeds and add them to salads.
They can also be mixed in honey, ginger and turmeric to treat cold.
11. Oro Blanco
If you have missed on trying this citrus fruit, you are definitely missing out on something wonderful!
Oro Blancos have a perfectly balanced ratio of sweet and acidic.
They are a hybrid of pomelos and grapefruit.
Observing which, the sweetness may come from pomelos and the size is acquired from the grapefruit.
Oro Blancos can be used in various ways by making a sauce out of it or a refreshing sorbet for summers.
You can squeeze them into juices and fancy mocktails even!
Also called ‘Rangpur Lime’, this citrus fruit has nothing associated with lime!
Rangpurs are highly aromatic medium-sized fruits containing lots of seeds.
It offers a sour-tarty flavour making it the best fruits to be used as dressings, cocktails, marmalades and syrups.
The famous Rangpur gin and tonic is an exotic cocktail that you must try.
If alcohol isn’t your thing, Rangpur syrups can be used to make delicious juices and iced teas.
The Yuzu fruit comes from the Asian countries of Japan, Korea and central China.
Slightly bigger than Lime but smaller than a Grapefruit, you can identify Yuzus by their wrinkled outer skin.
They are pleasantly fragrant and come in green to yellow colours.
Ironically, the taste is, however, not so pleasant.
It is immensely bitter and sour so making it unsuitable to be consumed raw.
Most of the time, Yuzu is added into cocktails or hot teas.
Yuzus are perfect for winters as they are highly nutritious and help in strengthening your immune system that helps prevent frequent colds and flu.
Calamansis have an extremely sharp flavour, they’re bitter and sour which makes it unsuitable to consume it raw.
They’re green-yellow in colour depending on their maturity.
Calamansis are used in various culinary ways.
Gooseberry, popularly known as Amla is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.
It has numerous health benefits that boost the immune system, the heart and helps the skin to remain healthy.
The taste of Gooseberries varies from sour to bitter.
They come in yellow-green colours and are small and round-shaped just like a lime.
Nowadays, Gooseberries are not only found raw but also in the form of powders, jams, juices, sweet syrups.
They’re also present in cosmetic based products like shampoos and hair oils.
Tomatoes might not come from the same family as the citrus fruits but, they contain a good amount of citric acid.
This acid helps keep the heart, brain and immune system work properly and avoids the risk of diseases.
Tomatoes are rich in potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate.
This round and red fruit are loaded benefits.
According to Health.com, consuming a single tomato complements the daily minimum vitamin C requirements.
They help in improving heart functions, ailing digestive problems, improving eye health and prevents early ageing symptoms visible on the skin.
Tomato is a versatile fruit to cook.
You can add them to your dishes, grill them, prepare a soup, juices, smoothies and many more dishes out of tomatoes.
A research conducted by PubMed had laid down observations about Pumpkin seeds containing organic acids; one of them being the citric acid.
Pumpkins are rich in potassium, vitamin C and act antioxidants.
Pumpkins range from a dark yellow to a bright orange colour.
They have a thick membrane that is filled with lots of seeds and a semi-dry pulp.
Pumpkin benefits your heart, immunity, eyesight and also helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
There are a lot of delicious recipes cooked with pumpkin.
For instance, Pumpkin can be added to salads, stir-fried with meat and vegetables, mashed into a soup and also baked into pies.
Don’t forget to add Pumpkin seeds to enhance the flavour of your dish.
Tamarind is a kind of a tree that produces sour-tarty fruits that are commonly referred to as Imli in Hindi.
The fruits are found in long, pod-like structures carrying seeds and pulp inside.
The flavour of Tamarind is extremely sharp and striking.
This is because of the acid content in it.
Tamarinds offer a great variety of health benefits.
Because of the antioxidant properties of Tamarind, it avoids chronic ailments of heart, cancer and diabetes.
Tamarind promotes healthy weight as well as a healthy heart.
Tamarind can be consumed in various ways. For instance, sauces and juices can be used as a salad dressing or for marination.
To balance the tartness, it can be mixed with Jaggery to make it healthier.
They can also be used as condiments with your favourite snack and topped on your favourite desserts.
Pomegranates are rich, bright red fruits that come have multiple health benefits.
These fruits contain less citric acid than other citrus fruits.
Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants, Phiber and vitamin C.
They fruit during the winter season with a hard skin but contain hundreds of small juicy seeds.
A lot of dishes can be made extravagant with the addition of pomegranate seeds.
Whether you sprinkle it on salads and desserts or squeeze them into juices, smoothies and cocktails, Pomegranate’s rich sweet-sour taste adds a burst of flavour.
Pomegranate largely benefits the health of your heart, digestion and memory.
You must be surprised to know that broccoli also contains some amount of citric acid.
Broccoli is a remarkable vegetable that’s full of vitamins, Potassium, Magnesium and Folic acid.
It promotes weight loss because of its low-calorie properties.
Broccoli also helps in avoiding the risk of tumours and cancer-promoting a healthy heart and a healthy digestive system.
It’s is delicious when sauteed with spices and other veggies, tossed into pasta or meat and even churned into creamy soups.
Nutritional Value of Citrus Fruits and Vegetables
Some of the major nutritional vitamins and minerals present in citrus fruits are listed below:
One of the major constituents of citrus fruits is citric acid.
Citric acid is a weak acid with pH levels ranging from 3 to 6.
However, the concentration of Citric acid differs from fruit to fruit.
Lemon and orange contain a high concentration of citric acid whereas Pineapples, Berries and Tomatoes have relatively low amounts of Citric acid.
Citric acid gives these fruits the sore, tangy taste and therefore, used in a lot of beverages especially, soft drinks.
When we talk about the uses of Citric acid, it is not restricted to being used as a flavour enhancer.
In fact, it also acts as a cleaning agent and is also used in certain cosmetics for skin and hair.
Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid and is present in abundance in citrus fruits.
Oranges, Lemon, Kiwi having a high amount of Vitamin C whereas, cherries, apples and cranberries having a relatively lower concentration of Vitamin C.
Non-citrus vegetables like Broccoli, Spinach and Bell peppers include a rich amount of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C comes with numerous benefits like boosting your immune system, improving digestion, avoiding the risk of heart diseases and many more.
Hence, it is very important to consume an adequate amount of vitamin C daily, i.e., minimum 60-70 milligrams for an adult, from your diet or through prescribed supplements.
Folate (or folic acid) is a form of B, water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in citrus fruits.
It helps in developing red and white blood cells in our body which are especially required during the period of extensive growth.
Citrus fruits are excellent sources of folate.
A glass of orange juice can contain up to 70 mcg of folate that will constitute 10-12% of your daily adequate folate intake.
Some of the benefits of folate are reducing the risks of cancer and repairing damaged cells.
Soluble fiber i.e, Pectin is found in most of the citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines.
Fibers do wonders in keeping the digestive system healthy and helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
One large orange alone contains 3.1 g of fiber.
Adequate intake of fiber for adults is around 15-25 grams per day.
Citrus fruits are excellent sources of potassium.
Wondering what potassium does for your body?
According to Medline Plus, it helps in the proper functioning of the nerves and avoids the fluctuations of the heartbeat.
Maintaining a good potassium level in your body is a great way to avoid health risks caused by the sodium produced in your body.
If ignored, it can lead to kidney stones.
Health Risks of Consuming Citrus Fruits and Vegetables
There is no doubt that citrus fruits are nutritious, healthy and must be included in your daily diet.
However, consuming these fruits in larger quantities is associated with health risks and side effects.
Here are some of the health risks and side effects that must be taken into consideration before you add them to your diet.
1. Might Cause Cavities
Consuming citrus fruits that contain high amounts of citric acid in a large quantity can have serious effects on the health of your teeth.
The constant acid that brushes the top layer of your teeth might cause them to eradicate the enamel. This can also cause cavities.
2. Affects Digestion
This might seem to contradict as citrus fruits are popular storehouses of fiber.
However, some supplements present in citrus fruits that are taken to restore vitamin C and other minerals in the body might cause abdominal pains, cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Which is why it’s always recommended to consume fresh fruits only.
3. Might Have Serious Side Effects
When citric fruits like grapefruits, tangelo and lemon are consumed with certain medicines, they might cause side effects such as vomiting, heartburn and headaches.
They can also lead to over absorption of medicines.
This might have serious effects on your health.
Therefore, it’s recommended to consult a doctor before adding these fruits in your diet.
1. Is Citric Acid Present in Pineapples?
Pineapples are not citrus fruits as they are closely linked to berries.
They contain Bromelain acid that is famous for anti-cancer and antioxidant properties.
They are a tropical fruit with a rich amount of Vitamin C but do not contain citric acid.
2. Can Citrus Fruits be Consumed During Pregnancy?
Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, Fiber, Folate and antioxidants which can help during the formation and development of bones of the unborn baby.
Citrus fruits help in coping up with morning sicknesses due to their sour and tangy flavour as well as a strong smell.
It is entirely safe for expecting mothers to include citrus fruits in their diet.
However, the amount of consumption must be discussed with the doctor especially in the case of grapefruits and lemon.
3. Which is The Healthiest Citrus Fruit?
Grapefruits are the healthiest citrus fruits.
With a water content of 91%, incredible source of various vitamins and minerals, low calories and antioxidant properties, grapefruits are the healthiest of citrus fruits providing many health benefits to the heart, immune system, blood, weight and more.
4. Is Citric Acid Found in Cheese?
Yes, cheese is produced through a time-consuming process of fermenting healthy bacteria into the milk.
To fasten this process, commercial factories that produce cheese use citric acid.
Citric acid also naturally occurs by the fermentation process itself.
5. Can Citrus Fruits Lighten Dark Spots on The Face?
Yes, citrus fruits assist in lightening dark spots on the skin due to the content of citric acid.
This is why many of the brightening skin cosmetics contain citrus fruit’s essence.
However, lemons and oranges can be applied as a mask on the face mixed with other organic skin lightening ingredients to lighten dark spots of acne and pimple on the face.
We come to the conclusion that citrus fruits and vegetables by encompassing all the major aspects in the field of citrus fruits.
They have undeniable benefits to health, mind and skin.
There are many citrus fruits and vegetables that minorly differ in taste, uses and benefits, some of which we might not have been aware of.
The culinary use of each fruit is versatile.
Citrus fruits and vegetables contain numerous vitamins and minerals; each one of them offering great health advantages.
Although certain complications can occur for some people, they’re suitable for the rest of us to be added to our daily diet.
It is due to the acidic content, people following medication should only include them to their diet after consulting a dietician.
Anushka is a passionate writer and works at F and B Recipes. She loves poetry and is currently pursuing a degree in media and communications.