The scent of citrus is transformative of time and space. Light and tangy, it makes you feel like spring breezes, like summertime lemonade stands, like cozy, winter afternoons with a book and slice of orange pound cake. Enjoy a Ruby Red grapefruit with breakfast, morning sunlight on your skin, and know that the vitamin C packed into each bite is essential for the formation of collagen—which maintains blood vessel integrity, connective tissue and skin elasticity. Squeeze lemon into sparkling water for an instant pick-me-up, and give your complexion an antioxidant-rich glow. Vitamin C, the superstar of citrus fruit, can regenerate vitamin E, which results in a powerful nutrient combo to protect the skin from UV damage and the dulling effect of environmental toxins. It also acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor which may help to even skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation. So, curl up with a book and a platter of blood orange slices, indulge in the beauty enhancing goodness and let your mind adventure.
Choosing organic may have a ripple effect far beyond that delightful basket of citrus on your table. According to a study at Princeton University, only about 1% of pesticides reach the pests they were meant for, leaving the other 99% to assimilate into the environment. The detrimental impacts of this could affect everything from groundwater and soil to wildlife and farm laborers who are subject to repeated exposure. Choose vibrant, nutrient-rich, organic produce and let the positive influence of your preferences warm you like the golden sun that ripens your favorite oranges. Lemons are a treasure trove of nutritional benefits, but they also gift us the never-ending fun of finding new variations for a long running joke about life and lemons. A current favorite is: “When life gives you lemons, keep them. Because hey, free lemons."
An idyllic stroll through a grove of orange trees sounds enchanting, but when it comes to conventional citrus the enchantment ends after harvest. To “preserve freshness while in transit,” the fruit is heavily sprayed with fungicides and other pesticides, saturating the peel with cancer-causing and thyroid-disrupting chemicals. Thiabendazole and Imazalil are the two most commonly used and both are classified as developmental/ reproductive toxins, as well as possible carcinogens. They are also environmental toxins, especially toxic to fish, and Thiabendazole in large amounts can disrupt human thyroid hormones. Imazalil cannot be entirely removed with soap and water and residues of it were found on 90.8% of non-organic tangerines tested, as well as 69.2% of oranges and 39.6% of grapefruit. You probably don’t want a dash of fungicide along with your favorite citrus garnishes, but the solution is simple. When you zest, always zest organic, and keep those orange slice smiles of your after-school snacks as enchanting as a stroll through a citrus grove by making sure they are organic!
References available upon request