I was surprised to see an abundance of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries at my local market this week— isn’t it almost the winter solstice? While we’re lucky to have the option to eat antioxidant-packed, yet out-of-season, berries during the winter, the sweetest beauty gems of the holiday season are citrus fruits. This season you’ll find more citrus varieties available than at any other time of the year; not just navels and ruby reds, but tangerines, kumquats, Meyer lemons, mandarins, clementines, tangelos and blood oranges. Centuries ago, citrus was a status symbol and a treasured holiday treat, but today giving citrus as a holiday gift is a dying holiday tradition (one that that might need to be revived by us natural beauties). The anti-aging support that citrus provides throughout the winter nourishes our skin and revs up our winter glow far more than a box of candy canes.
What makes citrus fruits such powerful winter beauty boosters? You may already know that their vitamin C content increases the production of collagen in your skin, and supports immunity during cold and flu season. But beyond vitamin C, phytochemicals in citrus, especially orange varieties, bring a glow to your winter complexion by naturally boosting circulation. Their high fiber content helps you detox naturally, so subbing them for holiday cookies and other refined treats can help you keep off the weight you don’t want to gain during holiday festivities. Pink grapefruit specifically is a good source of lycopene, which protects skin from sun damage (it’s still a concern, even in winter!). And lemon, the source of my favorite morning detox juice, balances your internal acidity (a result of all of those holiday cocktails and sweets) with a major dose of alkalinity, even as they stimulate digestion.
As the holidays pass and the winter blues set in, you’ll still want to keep citrus around. Peel one and you’ll notice your mood lifting, thanks to proven stress- and anxiety-reducing citrus aromas. Citrus scents have also been found to boost metabolism and help you focus. So until the thermometer signals that it’s spring and berries truly come back into season, don’t overlook the oranges at your market; they have winter beauty built in!