Taste of the Tropics

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Taste of the Tropics: Tropical Fruits

Don’t let their exotic looks intimidate you—they’ve got exotic flavor to match! Next time you’re in our produce aisle, take home a taste of the tropics with some of these uniquely delicious fruits. To help demystify their appearance and how to eat them, we’ve put together a few tips and insights for you.

  • Dragon Fruit

    As mythical looking as its name suggests, the dragon fruit or pitaya, is an edible pod that grows off of flowering cacti. Don’t let the unusual exterior fool you, the very mild interior can be mixed into a variety of dishes and smoothies for a powerful burst of nutrients.

  • Star Fruit

    These little fruit shine as brightly as their name. When cut crosswise, the reason for its name is revealed. The yellow flesh tastes a little like a green grape—sometimes sweet with a hint of tang. Try it in fruit salads, by itself or as a drink garnish.

  • Passion Fruit

  • This small, roundish fruit grows on a vine from spectacular flowers. When ripe, the fruit’s skin is slightly wrinkly. It’s easy to eat; cut it in half and spoon out the fruit and seeds—they’re edible. Or, add it to oatmeal or salads.
  • Lychee

    You’ll know your lychee is ready-to-eat when the bumpy skin turns pinkish-red and gives a little when gently pressed. They’re only about an inch in diameter and though the skin looks tough, it’s easily pierced with your fingernail, then peeled like an orange. The texture is similar to a grape, but be aware of the pit in the center.

  • Tamarind

    The tamarind looks like a brown bean pod. The fruit becomes paste-like and sweeter as it ripens, which is why it’s also called the date of India. The shell can be easily cracked, so you can pull the fruit away from the strings that hold it in place and eat around the seeds.

  • Cherimoya

    The creamy texture of this high-altitude fruit lends to its other name, custard apple. The exterior is green and looks scaled, but the luscious fruit can be described as a combination of tropical flavors like banana, coconut, strawberry and mango. Cut it in half and eat with a spoon, but be aware the large, dark seeds are quite hard and inedible.

    Guava

    From skin to seeds, the entire guava is edible—dive in—the rind alone has more vitamin C than an orange. Guavas have a sweet, slightly floral flavor that is delicious and unique. Like any fruit, they’re great eaten alone, mixed in with a smoothie or added to fruit salad.

  • Mangosteen

    From a tropical evergreen tree, the deep, reddish-purple tough skin of the mangosteen is inedible, but the inner fruit has pale white sections like citrus. Sweet and tangy, the flavor has been likened to strawberry, kiwi and plums, as all of these and completely its own. It remains an indescribably delicious mystery you have to try!

  • Persimmon

    The beautiful orange color of persimmons is carried throughout the firm flesh of the fruit. They look a little like a tomato and are best eaten when slightly firm. Cut them into wedges for an easy on-the-go snack with a honeyed, almost pear-like flavor. If they get too soft? You can bake them in quick bread like you would bananas or make easy freezer jam.

    Sugar Cane

    What looks like a leafless, hard stalk resembling bamboo is the sweet treat sugar cane. When choosing a stalk, favor those that are thinner and heavier versus a thicker lighter one. To cut it, score it all the way around, then break it rather than trying to cut all the way through it. Once peeled, you can chew the fibrous stalk to enjoy the nectar (but don’t swallow the fibers, discard them). Or, cut into thin stalks and use as skewers or swizzle sticks to impart the sweetness to your food and drink.

  • Jackfruit

    This boulder of a fruit has an almost coral-like exterior. The biggest surprise is when its tangy flesh is cooked up, it has a texture similar to meat. Next time you’re looking for a meatless dinner, try this giant. Sauté the ripe fruit with onion and garlic, add barbeque sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes—serve on tortillas.

    Rambutan

    This little fruit is strange looking. Their alien appearance and spiny exterior might make you think they’re inedible … but that would be incorrect. Totally tasty, these exotic fruits have a tender texture and a sweet flavor similar to wild grapes. Cut the circumference of the fruit and remove it to reveal the spherical white fruit that harbors a pit.

    Tamarillo

    Shaped like a beautiful reddish egg, the tamarillo is also known as the tree tomato. When you cut it open, the seeds are nestled much like they are in a tomato and are edible as well. The skin tends to be bitter though, so best blanche and peel your tamarillo before eating. Or, enjoy its complex fruity and tomato-like flavor by cutting it in half and dig in with a spoon.

     

     

Ready to try some of these luscious tropical treats?
SHOP TROPICAL FRUIT

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

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Farmer on Tractor Regenerative Agriculture 640x640Caring for the health of our soil has become an increasingly important endeavor as we better understand the role nutrient-rich soil plays in the quality of our food and ecosystem. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming that works to progressively improve the soil, water and the environment. These farming methods can help take CO2, a powerful greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and put it back where it can do the most good—under our feet—and that’s where this story begins, with soil.

Carbon Sequestration

Green plants naturally take carbon out of the air as part of photosynthesis and turn it into simple sugars. The sugars are exuded from the plant’s roots into the ground, where it feeds microorganisms that live around the root base. Those microorganisms use the carbon-based sugars to build topsoil—capturing, or sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. When a thin layer of compost is added to this system, it sets up a cycle where the plants are able to capture more and more carbon each year.

Cover Crops

Thoughtfully planted between other crops, cover crops can help to remedy soil shortcomings, keep weeds down, retain water and enrich the soil. This means the next crop will require less fertilizer, have a greater tolerance to drought and yield more. Another big plus to cover crops is they help to manage soil erosion.

No Till

Tilling the soil can lead to soil erosion, kill off the microorganisms necessary for healthy soil, encourage weed growth and can pack the soil making it harder for a crop to grow. Not tilling helps to create long-term soil fertility—organic soil that’s not tilled holds nutrients like a sponge, helping to create nutrient-rich food.

Regenerative Organic Certified logoComing soon …

Be prepared to start seeing more of this logo in the future. This certification will be used in tandem with the USDA Organic seal. The pilot program companies already produce USDA Certified Organic goods. Working towards Regenerative Organic Certification, they will be utilizing the additional regenerative agriculture practices of soil health and land management, as well as animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness practices.

Spring Break Travel Snack Tips

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by Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD founder of milkandhoneynutrition.com

It’s hard to believe, but winter is quickly coming to an end and before we know it spring will be here bringing warmer temps, yummy produce and the start of a big travel season.

Bento-box-style snack boxes with fruit, vegetables and sandwiches.

Why Be Prepared

Whether you’re just making a day trip with the kids to your local zoo, setting out across the country for a fun-filled road trip, or hopping on a two-hour flight to your closest beach, there are a few reasons to make sure you come prepared with snacks from home.

Cost: Buying snack foods in airports, or convenience stores is far more expensive than purchasing them at your local grocery store or making them at home.

Gut health: The stress of travel alone can often throw gut bacteria out of whack. New-to-you snack foods purchased while traveling may create some GI distress as well. It’s a good idea to pack some tried-and-true favorites.

Immune health: Our immune systems can be another victim of travel stress. If we’re not fueling our bodies properly, our immune system could take an even bigger hit – making us more prone to getting sick.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Day Trip

Taking a day trip allows you the flexibility to pack both shelf-stable and refrigerated snacks in a cooler.  If you plan to be gone all day, remember to pack substantial foods as well. Freezing some beverages and ice packs will keep things nice and cool. Any food that is supposed to be refrigerated should be kept on ice as long as possible. Once it is taken out of the cooler (or the cooler is no longer below 40°F), it should be consumed within two to four hours. If you’re ever in doubt, just throw it out.

Day-Trip Snacks

  • Popcorn
  • Dark chocolate rice cakes
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Energy bites

Cooler Snacks

  • Berries
  • Yogurt
  • Flavored water
  • Sandwiches
  • Chicken salad
  • Snacking cheese

Longer Road Trip

For longer road trips, you’ll want to keep the same food safety precautions in mind as you would on day trips. Keep in mind that cooler snacks will only last one day or less depending on the length of your trip. If your road trip will be longer than one day, try to scout out your favorite grocery stores along the route—stocking up on refrigerated goods as you make your way to your destination. Some of my preferred shelf-stable, travel-friendly snacks include:

  • 100% uncured beef sticks
  • Oat bites
  • Apple sauce
  • Nut butter
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Snack-size bars
  • Nut butter pouches
  • Other shelf-stable produce options like apples and grapes

Plane Trip 

Plane trips are a bit different when it comes to picking out your snacks. You’ll need to consider what will fit in your carry-on bag as well as what security will allow you to bring. If you bring a cooler, make sure all the ice packs are frozen solid. Anything that is not frozen, including foods, beverages, and ice packs is subject to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.

Plane trips are the perfect opportunity to shop delicious bulk snacks in the Bulk Department, where you can choose the amount that best fits in your luggage. Easy-to-pack items include:

  • Walnuts
  • Chocolate-covered almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Dried mangos
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Plantain chips
  • Granola

Whatever your plans are this spring break, whether you’re traveling cross country or to the nearby park, make sure to stop by your local Sprouts to find your favorite travel-friendly snacks!


 

Influencer - Mary Ellen - Milk & Honey Nutrition

About Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, is the Registered Dietitian, mom, food blogger and recipe developer behind milkandhoneynutrition.com. She’s also a type 1 diabetic and firmly believes food should bring us joy, not stress. Mary Ellen makes healthy eating easy, realistic and most importantly … fun! Visit her website and you’ll find yummy low-sugar, diabetes-friendly recipes the whole family will love … as well as helpful tips and a little mom humor.

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Eat the Rainbow: Green Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

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by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, founder of love & zest

There are so many fun and colorful ways to jazz up meal time with food! Eating the rainbow is easy with an endless amount of produce options—there’s a fruit and veggie for every color of the rainbow.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to pull out all things green—including fruits and veggies! Sprouts has all the green foods you need to make this St. Patrick’s Day the best one yet.

Fresh green fruits and vegetables, with green drinkLet’s Chat Green Fruits

Avocados contain twice the potassium of a banana (gram for gram). Potassium is important for blood pressure and nerve function. Avocados also boast gamma-tocopherol, a defender against disease-provoking compounds in the body. If you’re craving avocado, check out this recipe for Avocado Chicken Caesar Salad, featuring creamy avocado dressing.

Granny Smith apples are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. The polyphenolic compounds found in apples are phytonutrients that help protect against free radicals in the body. Apples can be enjoyed many different ways like in this recipe for Caramel Apple Oatmeal.

Kiwi may look foreign on the outside with its fuzzy skin, but there’s nothing weird about its health benefits! Did you know you can even eat the skin? Packed with vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin K and vitamin E, kiwi makes a great addition to smoothies and a tangy salad topping. Try it in this Summer Superfood Smoothie Bowl.

Limes are a good source of vitamin C and a tart, flavorful addition to many dishes. Squeeze limes on baked chicken, use in a marinade or enjoy in a refreshing glass of Tart Cherry Limeade bursting with lime flavor!

Remember the Green Veggies

Arugula is a nutrient-dense veggie with great sources of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium! You can’t go wrong with this leafy green. Use it as a salad base, avocado toast topper or tossed with pasta like this Lemon Arugula Pasta Salad.

Broccoli contains very good sources of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. You can immerse broccoli in cold water after roasting to preserve the many nutrients it offers.

Green bell peppers are just one of the many bell pepper options. Green bell peppers in particular are slightly sweet and high in dietary fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. They’re great diced in an omelette, chopped in a salad or stuffed like these Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.

Kale is incredibly nutritious. A one-cup serving provides 133% of the daily value of vitamin A and 134% of the daily value of vitamin C. Plus, there are endless ways to enjoy kale—toss with avocado oil and lemon juice for a nutritious side dish, add to a smoothie, or cook and stuff in a sweet potato for a hearty dish!

Remember to eat the rainbow every day. Check out the red Eat the Rainbow article for more inspiration!


 

Kristina portrait from Love and Zest

About Kristina

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, is the owner of popular food and nutrition website, Love & Zest, where she shares (mostly) healthy recipes to fuel the whole family and real-life stories of modern motherhood. Kristina is a former NBA team dietitian, collegiate sports RD and cookbook author. She’s the mama to two active and hungry boys and lives in Orlando with her middle-school sweetheart. Follow Love & Zest on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, and get her new family-friendly weeknight dinner guide for stress-free meal planning.

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How to Prepare, Cook & Eat an Artichoke

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Native to the Mediterranean region, the artichoke is the not-yet-bloomed flower of a thistle plant that is part of the sunflower family. Despite their slightly prickly exterior, artichokes are quite easy to prepare, cook and eat. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and dietary fiber.

Preparing an artichoke: Fresh artichokes in a paper bag

Easy Artichoke Prep

  • Because they have sharp barbs, the first thing you’ll want to do in preparation is to cut the top cluster of barbs off with a sharp knife. This will remove about a quarter of the artichoke. Then, utilizing kitchen shears, cut the barbs off the tops of the remaining leaves.

TIP: Don’t worry that you’re taking too much off the top of the artichoke or the tops of the leaves—the edible part is at the base of the leaf. More on that later …

  • Now that the artichoke is easier to handle, remove the small leaves at the base, closest to the stem and cut the stem, leaving about a ½”.
  • The final step is to rinse the artichoke under cool running water to remove any debris that might be trapped in between petals.

Cooking an Artichoke: It’s Easy!

  1. Add just enough water to a pot so that the water is just below the steamer basket. Cover and bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the prepared artichoke, replace the lid and lower the heat to simmer the water. It will take 20-40 minutes to cook. After 20 minutes, you’ll want to check the artichoke(s) every 5 minutes. The color will change from fresh green to a more muted green and you’ll know it’s read when you can easily remove a petal. TIP: Use tongs for this part—those petals will be really hot!
  3. Set aside and allow to cool a bit before eating it.

Now What? How to Eat an Artichoke

  • Serve the artichoke right-side up on a plate.
  • Remove a petal from the artichoke and eat only the bottom, whitish fleshy part of the petal that was closest to the base of the artichoke.
  • You can certainly eat artichokes plain, or with a little salt & pepper. Try dipping them in melted butter or ghee, a tangy vinaigrette or a savory aioli.

TIP: Have a bowl at-the-ready for discarded petals.

Easy Aioli Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ cup Sprouts Organic Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. Sprouts Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mash garlic and salt in a small bowl until a paste forms.
  2. Whisk in mayonnaise, oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season with salt and pepper—enjoy!

Did you know?

One artichoke plant can produce up to 20 artichokes per year.

Mindful Consumption: Recycling Facts

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Recycling seems pretty simple. But did you know things like cleanliness and contamination play into the whole system? To help you become a model recycler, we’ll be answering questions like, how clean is clean? And, can those plastic windows in envelopes be included with the paper?


Does recycling really matter?

Yes! Here’s a recycling fact: Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for two hours, or a laptop for three hours or light a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours.


The Benefits of Recycling

When we choose to recycle things like paper, cardboard, glass and plastic, we’re sending less material to the landfill. At the same time, when those materials we divert from the landfill are reused, they’re saving other valuable natural resources like water, trees and minerals. Recycling also benefits our economy by creating a domestic source of materials. Last but not least, recycling saves energy.

What Can Be Recycled?

The best answer to this question is: Check locally! Because recycling programs vary from one area to the next, there is no set answer for what materials can be recycled in your neighborhood. The non-profit organization, Keep America Beautiful, has a fantastic website to help you find information on the recycling programs in your area—searchable by zip code!

Recycling facts: Various bottles, cans and newspapers arranged in circular design

Containers

Is it really true that if you don’t clean your plastic, glass or can you ruin it for all the other recycles? Yes and no. If there are still a few schmears of mayo in the jar after you’ve rinsed it out, no harm done. But if the container has not been rinsed at all and/or contains leftover food or liquids, yes, it could contaminate other materials, especially in places that have a single-stream system.

Consider this: An unrinsed food jar could come open or break somewhere in the process. If it gets on paper and cardboard recyclables, they’ll be ruined. You don’t have to spotlessly clean plastics and glass with soap and water, just rinse them so little to no food is left in them. And let them dry too. Wet containers with paper and cardboard aren’t a good combo—soggy items can contaminate a whole bundle of paper products.

Paper

Crumpled paper, newspaper and cardboard are a-okay. Shredded however, in most cases, is not. You can use it in your compost pile as a brown/carbon. As for those pesky plastic windows in paper envelopes? It’s best to remove them before adding the envelope to the recycle bin. (Don’t worry if there is a little sliver of plastic that hangs on.) And unless you can completely separate the paper part of a bubble-wrap mailer from the plastic, those shipping envelopes will need to be reused or thrown in the garbage.

Wishcycling

When you toss something in the recycling bin that you hope is recyclable, but aren’t sure, you’re wishcycling. The trouble with this practice is, if what you’re adding to the recycles truly isn’t recyclable, you run the risk turning vast amounts of potentially recyclable material into trash or at the very least, bringing the process to a halt at the recycling center. Keep in mind, just because something has the chasing arrows symbol on it does not mean it can go in the bin with everything else. Boost your eco-savvy by checking with your local municipality for the rules as to what can be collected in your area.

Can You Recycle Plastic Bags?

Most recycling programs will not take plastic bags, even if it has the recycling logo on it. At Sprouts, we have containers at the front of every store where plastic bags can be recycled. Last year, our customers returned 22 million plastic bags to us, so we could recycle them for you. We also recycled 850,000 pounds of our own mixed recyclables including paper, plastic, aluminum and glass, as well as 80 million pounds of cardboard—that’s equivalent to 450,000 trees!

 


Here’s another recycling fact:

It’s possible to turn an aluminum can into another aluminum product in as little as 60 days!


Egg-ucation

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Get Eggucated

What Does Your Egg Carton Label Mean?

Eggs may only come in one shape, but Sprouts has numerous options to choose from. How can you be sure you’re making an egg-ucated decision about the type, size and color?

Animal welfare is of the utmost importance to Sprouts, and we hold both our suppliers and ourselves to high standards in regard to supply chain transparency. All of our egg suppliers are required to meet or exceed USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services Standards, and any cage-free supplier must also meet or exceed animal welfare standards such as Certified Humane certification criteria outlined by Humane Farm Animal Care, among other nationally recognized programs.

EGG CARTON TERMS

Pasture Raised

The HFAC’s Certified Humane® requirement is 1,000 birds per 2.5 acres (108 sq. ft. per bird) and the fields must be rotated. The hens must be outdoors year-round, and have mobile or fixed housing where they can go inside at night for protection from predators. They can also be housed indoors for up to two weeks due to inclement weather.

Free Range

This label is regulated by the USDA and indicates that the flock was provided shelter in a building, room or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material.

Cage Free

This label indicates that the flock was able to freely roam in a building, room or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.

Organic

The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA Organic. Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity and using only approved substances. Organic eggs come from chickens treated with the same animal welfare standards as free-range and are given non-GMO feed.

Pasteurized

This label indicates eggs were heated in a sanitary facility under the supervision of the USDA. In pasteurization, the liquid part of the egg is rapidly heated and held at a minimum required temperature for a specific amount of time. This destroys salmonella, but does not cook the eggs or affect color, flavor or nutritional value. By law, all liquid eggs must be pasteurized.

Omega-3 or DHA

These are from hens that have been fed a diet supplemented by a source of omega-3 fatty acids (typically from flax seed).

No Added Hormones

A similar claim includes “Raised without Hormones.” Federal regulations have never permitted hormones or steroids in poultry, pork or goat.

White or Brown

Color is not a reflection of quality and is not a factor in the U.S. Standards, Grades, and Weight Classes for Shell Eggs. Eggs are simply sorted for color and marketed as either “white” or “brown” eggs.

It is common that brown eggs are bigger in size, which is usually due to the breed of chicken laying the eggs. For this reason, brown eggs cost more to produce and are typically found at a higher price point.

 

What Are Prebiotics?

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Though they often get a bad rap, some bacteria are beneficial. Good bacteria you’ve likely heard of include probiotics—microbes that help to digest food and support a healthy gut environment called a microbiome. Just like we can’t exist without eating, neither can probiotics. That’s where prebiotics come in.

Think of prebiotics as the buffet for the healthy gut bacteria. Found in foods, prebiotics help the growth of good gut bacteria by providing nourishment for them. It’s likely you’re already consuming prebiotics, they’re the fiber in some vegetables and grains.

What are prebiotics, asparagusPrebiotic Foods

Inulin is a soluble fiber found in plants. Because of its molecular make-up, inulin cannot be digested by your small intestine—that’s how it continues on to your large intestine to become fuel for beneficial bacteria. If you read food labels, you may have seen inulin listed, that’s because it is added as a source of fiber in things like nutritional bars, yogurt and baked goods. (Chicory root is a major source of inulin and you may have seen that listed in the ingredients as well.) Here are some veggies that contain inulin fiber:

  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Jicama
  • Onions
  • Leeks

Other foods that contain prebiotic fiber include:

  • Barley
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Apples
  • Flaxseeds
  • Wheat bran
  • Seaweed

Ready to get more prebiotic-packed foods in your diet?
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Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits and Juices

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by Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD founder of milkandhoneynutrition.com

We’re in the middle of winter and many parts of the country are covered in snow. Citrus fruits can offer a fun way to brighten things up any time of year, but especially in these cold winter months.

Citrus fruits include: sweet oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and a few other lesser known varieties. Not only do they offer delicious taste, but their vibrant colors can brighten up any dish or beverage. You’ll find a huge variety of citrus at your local Sprouts Farmers Market.

In addition to their great taste and pretty colors, they also come loaded with an abundance of health benefits.

Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits and JuicesNutrients Found in Citrus Fruits

Likely the most well-known nutrient in citrus fruits is vitamin C, which can be found in all citrus fruits. In fact, just one medium orange or grapefruit provides 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.

Citrus fruits also contain the B vitamins thiamin, niacin and B6.

And potassium, an electrolyte essential for human health, is found in citrus fruits, along with phosphorus and magnesium.

Other nutrients to make note of in citrus fruits include antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids.

Potential Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits

Given the powerhouse of nutrients found in citrus fruits, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of potential health benefits when it comes to citrus and their (no-added-sugar) juice counterparts.

Heart Health

Several of the nutrients found in citrus fruits help support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Specifically: vitamin C, soluble fiber and flavonoids. In addition, multiple studies have found lower rates of heart disease in people who consume higher amounts of citrus fruits as part of an overall balanced diet. Both the fruits themselves and juices have been found to have positive effects on heart health when consumed in appropriate amounts.

Cancer Risk Reduction

Numerous studies have found that citrus fruits and the nutrients they contain may offer protection against certain types of cancer including: lung, esophageal, breast, stomach and pancreatic cancers. This is likely due to antioxidant activity (certain types of both flavonoids and carotenoids can act as antioxidants) to inhibit cancer growth and repair cell damage, as well as the fiber content. Diets higher in fiber are associated with lower cancer rates.

Brain Health

Some research has shown that citrus fruits may protect our brains against inflammatory conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Flavonoids (specifically hesperidin), found in abundance in citrus fruits, may slow the rate of deterioration, while also delaying the onset of these conditions.

Bone Health

Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium (all found in citrus fruits) play an important role in bone structure, density and strength. And while calcium and vitamin D aren’t found naturally in large amounts in citrus fruits, the vitamin C content of citrus fruits can help increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D we are able to absorb from other foods. This why 100% orange juice is sometimes fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Kidney Health

People who eat less citrus fruits tend to have higher rates of kidney stones. One type of kidney stone is caused by low levels of citrate in urine. Consuming citrus fruits can help raise the levels of citrate in urine, and thus may help decrease the risk of developing kidney stones.

Iron Absorption

It is hard for our bodies to absorb all of the iron we consume in food. In fact, it’s impossible. Depending on the source of the iron, our bodies will only absorb about 14–18% of the iron in our foods, but consuming vitamin C (which is found in large amounts in citrus foods) at the same time can increase the amount of iron your body is able to absorb.

Immune System Support

Many citrus fruits are in season in the winter time, which also happens to be the heart of cold and flu season. Consuming citrus fruits and juices can increase your intake of vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids which help support healthy immune systems by fighting inflammation and helping your body’s cells communicate with each other.

Skin Health

Citrus fruits and juices can improve skin health because of their high vitamin C content. Vitamin C helps protect our body’s cells from damage, and even helps the cells repair themselves. People who consume more vitamin C may have a lower risk of skin damage from the sun (though you should always wear sunscreen!). Your body also uses vitamin C to build collagen which improves skin elasticity and tone.

Respiratory Health

Several studies have linked the symptoms associated with asthma and citrus fruit consumption. Both Both vitamin C and flavonoids, may play a role in decreasing the frequency of asthma attacks and/or improving its symptoms.

Diabetes Prevention and Management

Believe it or not, eating fruit is not bad for people with diabetes and it does not increase your risk for diabetes. Studies have shown over and over that people who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, specifically those higher in vitamin C and fiber, have a lower risk of diabetes. It also should be noted that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and may help prevent or reduce the amount if inflammation present in people with diabetes.

So, whether it’s a grapefruit, lemon, tangerine or glass of 100% orange juice, rest assured you’ll do your body some good by reaching for those citrus fruits the next time you’re in the Sprouts Produce Department!


Please note: The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition and should not be treated as such. Please seek out your physician or dietitian before making changes to your diet.


 

Influencer - Mary Ellen - Milk & Honey Nutrition

About Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, is the Registered Dietitian, mom, food blogger and recipe developer behind milkandhoneynutrition.com. She’s also a type 1 diabetic and firmly believes food should bring us joy, not stress. Mary Ellen makes healthy eating easy, realistic and most importantly … fun! Visit her website and you’ll find yummy low-sugar, diabetes-friendly recipes the whole family will love … as well as helpful tips and a little mom humor.

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Celebrate Citrus!

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Winter days somehow seem happier when you start peeling a citrus fruit and spray the room with a little taste of the tropics. Your local Sprouts store may carry some or all of the following fruits, depending on what crops are available.

Bowl full of limes, oranges and lemons

Blood Oranges

You wouldn’t really know what awaits inside these smaller, relatively thin-skinned reddish-orange fruits. But the flesh is usually a vivid blood-red color that has overtones of raspberry and strawberry. Blood oranges are less acidic than most other varieties.

Cara Cara Oranges

These oranges—a special varietal of navels—are very low in acid, so their sweet, slightly complex berry-like flavor really comes through. They are typically bright and glossy, with a surprising slight rosy hue to the flesh. Cara Caras were first discovered in the tropics of South America in 1976.

Gold Nuggets

This seedless mandarin has a bumpy, easy-to-peel, aromatic skin with a delicious sweet flavor. They’re named after the gold once found in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains where they’re grown today.

Meyer Lemons

With a darker golden-hued flesh than their common counter parts, Meyer lemons are a bright sparkle in the citrus world. They’re also sweeter than the lemons you’re used to—that’s because they’re less acidic and tangy. Other differences include their smaller, more round shape and thin, edible skin.

Pummelos

Don’t let the size intimidate you! Beneath the thick rind, these giants of the citrus world have a flesh that ranges in color from creamy white to bright pink. They’re sweeter and less tangy than the smaller grapefruit and have a tropical aroma.

Ruby Tangos

A cross between a blood orange and a clementine, Ruby Tangos have a deep orange, very smooth and easy-to-peel rind. They’re seedless and have a hint of berry flavor like the blood oranges they come from.

Seedless Lemons

These are just as delicious and bright as your favorite lemons, but without the hassle of seeds. Grown from a natural hybrid stock, seedless lemons were initially used by restaurants to save time and reduce waste—now you can too!

Sumo Citrus®

With a rich history dating back to 1970s Japan, these oversized mandarins were bred to combine the easy-to-peel, Japanese Satsuma with the sweet, juicy California orange. Sumo Citrus® have a bumpy, loose peel and sport a topknot with a perfectly balanced, sweet citrus flavor.

Uniq Fruit

They may look funny—some might even say ugly (they’re also known as Ugli® fruit)—but this member of the citrus family has a beautiful sunny golden interior. When removed, the knobby, mottled and puffy thick skin reveals a super juicy, and surprisingly sweet flavor reminiscent of a mandarin and grapefruit.

Vintage Navels

These oranges are grown from heirloom navel oranges, but that is where the similarity to the navel oranges ends. Their higher sugar levels lend to a luscious aroma and the ultimate, perfect orange sweetness.


We’ve got a great selection of the sweetest citrus in season—some of them for a limited time.

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