Naturopathic Kitchen: Citrus

Various citrus fruits on a wooden surface.

Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, are native to Australia, New Caledonia, and New Guinea but are cultivated across the globe in tropical and subtropical climates. 1 Citrus fruits have a bright flavor ranging from very sweet to extremely sour. Many people already know that they are high in Vitamin C and aid the immune system, but there are a number of other health benefits as well. 2

The Health Benefits of Citrus

High in Soluble Fiber

Citrus fruits, especially oranges, are a good source of soluble fiber. 3 Just a cup of orange segments contains four grams of fiber. 4 Soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels and improve digestive health. 5 Unlike other fruits that contain fiber, citrus fruits have a higher ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber. 6 

Weight Management

The habit of eating citrus fruits regularly can help to lose weight and keep it off. 7 This is because citrus fruits are low in calories, but their high fiber and water content make you feel full after eating them. Citrus fruits may be a good choice for those trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet.

Reduce the Risk of Kidney Stones

People who eat more citrus fruits are less likely to develop kidney stones. 8 This is because kidney stones, painful mineral deposits that form in the kidneys and are passed through urination, develop when there are low levels of urinary citrate. Consuming citrus fruits increases your citrate levels, helping to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. 9 

*Note that grapefruit can interfere with the absorption of certain medications. If you are taking any medication, speak to your healthcare provider about whether or not you should be eating grapefruit. 10 Citrus is also a common allergen in some. If you suspect food allergies, your ND can help assess which may be the culprit.

Spring Pea & Citrus Salad

This colorful salad combines fresh spring peas and vibrant citrus fruit. Great as a side for a fish or poultry dish, or as is! Try it for a gourmet picnic instead of the typical potato salad.

Recipe courtesy of Bastyr University.


1 cup fresh spring peas, steamed (can be substituted for frozen peas if fresh are not available)

1⁄2 cup cara-cara orange, segmented (reserve other half for the dressing

1 cup fresh arugula

1⁄4 cup pine nuts (dry toasted)

For the dressing:

½ remaining orange, zested* and juiced

½ Meyer lemon, zested and juiced

¼ cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic vinegar glaze for drizzling

*Tip: it is easiest to zest your citrus before cutting the fruit


Cool steamed peas to room temperature. In a platter, layer the arugula, peas and orange slices. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Pour dressing over the salad generously. Add pine nuts on top and drizzle with balsamic glaze.


If you are interested in pursuing a career in the healing capacity of food and other natural health practices, naturopathic medicine may be a good fit for you.


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