Many of you probably know citrus contains a high level of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body, but did you know citrus has anti-cancer properties as well as detoxifiers that lower your risk of heart disease?
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to eat citrus. Whether you put a lemon in your tea, flavor your guacamole with lime, or eat a tangerine, the goal this week is to increase your citrus intake.
Citrus fruits have a variety of elements that can improve your health. Some of those properties include: better blood flow, heightened hydration, lots of fiber, and a low glycemic index. Studies have shown citrus improves blood flow, reducing blood clots and oxidation of bad cholesterol. Citrus also helps heal wounds and form necessary scar tissue. Most citrus is 80% or more water, which aids in keeping the body hydrated. Although 4 grams may not seem significant, the fiber found in citrus makes it a prime fruit for losing weight. In 2006, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food noted people dropped an average of 3 ½ pounds after 12 weeks of eating half a fresh grapefruit before each meal. One other incredible benefit of eating citrus is its low glycemic index. Glucose controls the body’s blood sugar, and an orange, for example, has a score of 45 and grapefruit 25. A bagel, for comparison, has a score of 72 which may increase energy levels temporarily but cause a crash later in the day. Citrus will keep you feeling energized and ready to go. The next time you’re in the store deciding which produce to buy, choose citrus for its many health benefits.
Listed below are some recipes you could use when implementing citrus into your diet this week. We hope you try a couple of the recipes this week when doing the challenge.
Chicken Skewers with Meyer Lemon Salsa
8 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup finely chopped English hothouse cucumber
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, divided
1 serrano chile (with seeds), finely chopped
Pinch of sugar
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2” pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemons; discard. Working over a medium bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl; squeeze in juice from membranes and discard membranes. Strain juice into another bowl.
Combine lemon segments, 1 Tbsp. strained lemon juice (reserve remaining juice for another use), cucumber, 2 Tbsp. scallions, and chile in a small bowl; mix well. Stir in sugar; season salsa with salt and set aside.
Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a mini-processor or blender, purée 1/4 cup cilantro, yogurt, vegetable oil, garlic, coriander, and turmeric. Pour marinade over chicken; toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1-day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing.
Preheat broiler. Thread 4 pieces of chicken onto each skewer and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning once and watching closely to prevent burning, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Alternatively, grill skewers over medium-high heat on a gas grill or over medium heat on a charcoal grill.) Transfer skewers to plates. Spoon Meyer lemon salsa over chicken. Garnish with remaining 2 Tbsp. cilantro and 1 Tbsp. scallions
Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad
1 pink grapefruit
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups thinly sliced kale (center ribs and stems removed)
1 avocado, halved, pitted, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
Squeeze ½ the juice from the grapefruit into a small bowl; whisk oil into juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle 3 Tbsp. dressing over. Toss to combine then arrange grapefruit segments and avocado slices over kale. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.
Lemon-Lime Basil Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2'’ cubes
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*Sanding sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 375°. Place flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zests, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet, spacing 2" apart. Lightly dust the bottom of a flat measuring cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2" rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with sanding sugar, if using. Bake until edges are brown, about 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
* Sanding sugar is clear and sparkly, unlike the opaque pearl sugar, and its extra-large crystals will not melt in the oven. Sanding sugar is available in many colors.