While we are all aware that citrus fruit is a great source of vitamin C, a little known fact is that a mild to moderate deficiency of vitamin C may be associated with increased nervousness, anxiety and depression. We need all we can to boost mood during the long, dark, dreary and chilly days of winter. In fact, there is evidence of seasonality in anxiety and panic attacks, as there is with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or “winter blues”, a form of depression caused by the lack of light during the fall and winter months, possibly leading to low serotonin. Together with depression and anxiety, low serotonin can also cause increased carb and sugar cravings. Eating a delicious blood orange (and other winter citrus fruit) will provide a boost of vitamin C and satisfy that desire for something sweet! I like to call these fruits “little spheres of sunshine” you can eat and enjoy to provide mood benefits as well as a boost for the immune system. (If you have a really sweet tooth this info from the HMN twitter party may help).
I encourage you to try and eat organic oranges, tangerines (or “naartjies” as they are called in South Africa) and other citrus fruit. In 2002, at a Great Lakes Regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, it was reported that organically-grown oranges contain up to 30% more vitamin C than those grown conventionally. A 2006 Italian study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that “organic red oranges have a higher phytochemical content (i. e., phenolics, anthocyanins and ascorbic acid)” and antioxidant than conventional oranges.
Here is a recipe for you to try
Orange Chicken Stir-fry
This stir-fry is beautiful, healthy, and delicious, and it’s also easy to make. It’s also simple enough that kids will enjoy it too. I like to start cooking and chop as I go to make life easy. I also pre-boil the chicken pieces so they are easier to chop up and cook quicker. This makes 4 servings and can be served with yummy baked sprouted GABA rice. Ideally all the ingredients are organic but most importantly make sure the peppers are (based on the EWG Dirty Dozen list)
2 T coconut oil for stir-frying
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 or 4 carrots, grated or cut into slivers (about a cup)
4 boneless organic or pastured chicken thighs (pre-boiled and chopped)
¼ head of cabbage, finely chopped
1 orange, cut into slices with skin and seeds removed (save the juice and use too)
2 T tamari (wheat-free especially if you are gluten-intolerant)
sea salt and pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a wok and add onion, garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally. While that starts to cook (about 5 minutes), chop the peppers and then add. While that cooks (about 5 minutes), grate the carrots and then add. Keep stirring occasionally. While that all cooks (about 5 minutes) chop the cabbage and add this and the chicken pieces and cook another 5 minutes or so. Add pieces of orange, juice, tamari sauce and spices and cook another 2 minutes. Enjoy!
If orange in your main-course doesn’t appeal to you, serve the orange slices with coconut milk for a delicious dessert, or simply peel and enjoy!