While recovering from an early summer cold, I was reminded to consume many sources of vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C is one of the most heavily researched of all of the vitamins and minerals. Research has shown that large doses of vitamin C may help bolster the immune system. The recommended doses of Vitamin C range from 60-400mg and even up 3000mg depending on whose research you read. For the upper limit doses, you’ll have to rely on supplements. Yet, there’s no getting around the fact that food sources will always prevail.
We don’t need research to tell us to eat an orange when we are sick. Instinctually we do it. Luckily citrus fruits are available year round everywhere in the US.
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the citrus producing states then you will get the freshest food sources available. This is good to know since Vitamin C is a very delicate vitamin. It breaks down as the fruit is exposed to air perhaps that is why citrus fruits have such thick skin.
Whole fruit is the ideal source of C because juice, once opened, is just asking for insults from oxygen. Over time and with increased exposure to air, the vitamin C levels will diminish.
The richest food source of vitamin C, the kiwi fruit, might lose up to 25% of its vitamin C within a three week period. As the long as the fruit is intact, the vitamin C is still in there. The season for kiwi is November through May. Oranges are the next richest fruit source and you can get them all year long.
Visit your farmer’s market or organic grocer for your C sources from fruits such as lemons, oranges and grapefruits. As an anti-oxidant, it is the job of vitamin C to protect the plant; to act as part of its defense system. Foods grown organically or without pesticides, essentially, without any outside help, develop the strongest defenses. Just like people who persevere under extreme conditions, plants too will figure out a way to survive by taping into their available resources.
While recovering from my cold, I still managed to get out for my weekly farmer’s market run. The organic citrus grower at my favorite Santa Monica farmer’s market gave me a big bag of Persian limes which look more like lemons but taste much milder than any citrus fruit I have ever eaten. I ate two to three per day per his recommendation and was soon feeling like myself again.
I loved the Persian limes so much that I had to create a recipe to pay homage to my new found favorite source of C.
During my farmer’s market trips, I would always stop by the dried fruit and nut stand, Harvest Pride. While buying some walnuts and dried cherries, I simultaneously learned some Persian sayings from Mo, my favorite dried fruit vendor. Knowing a bit of the language will help me communicate better with some of my Persian patients. I learned “Chetori?,” which means, “How are you?” and “Eshtehatoon chetoreh?” which means, “How is your appetite?” On my next visit, I have to learn how to say, “Much better now, thanks to the wonderful healing food I get from my farmer’s market friends.”
When I can accomplish two tasks at once, I feel like my time is best spent. I bought my produce and learned a new language, well, still in progress. So while taking spinning class and trying to sweat out my cold, I could not keep my mind from spinning as I simultaneously created these recipes to keep you and me healthy and happy throughout summer and hopefully all year long.
When you feel the cold & flu bugs attacking, try these home remedies:
Blackstrap Molasses OJ with a GSE twist
2 Tablespoons Blackstrap Molasses
200 calories, 190% DV vitamin C, 55% Manganese, 47% Copper, 42% Iron & Potassium, 38% Calcium, 28% Magnesium, 20% B6, 17% Folate, 15% Thiamin (B1), 11% Selenium, 10% Niacin (B3), 5% Riboflavin, 3% Zinc
Grapefruit & Arugula Salad
1 grapefruit, any variety
4 cups arugula
2 Tbsp fresh herbs which compliment flavors: Optional (mint, rosemary or tarragon)
2 Tbsp lemon juice & zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
Peel and section grapefruit and cut crosswise into small triangles. Wash and dry arugula and herbs using a salad spinner or colander to drain. In a mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients: honey, Dijon, salt and ample black pepper. Divide arugula between two bowls. Toss with dressing to coat. Top with grapefruit sections and walnuts. Eat & enjoy! To make this a more complete meal, top with your favorite protein source such as steamed white fish or poached free-range chicken
Sweet Citrus Savior
2 oranges, any variety
2 Persian Limes
1 lemon, juice & zest
2 Tbsp dried cherries
2 Tbsp ground walnuts
1/2 – 1 cup lowfat yogurt
In a serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest and yogurt. Peel and separate the orange and Persian lemon pieces. Cut crosswise into small triangles. Divide the citrus into two small bowls and top with yogurt lemon sauce. Sprinkle with dried cherries and walnuts and Enjoy!