Fresh citrus and 100 percent citrus juices are nutrient-rich foods that may be included as part of most healthy and varied diets. Citrus fruit and 100 percent citrus juices can help you meet fruit intake recommendations, while delivering nutrients that Americans often don’t get enough of, including vitamin C and potassium, as well as calcium and vitamin D in fortified citrus juice and fiber in fresh fruit. Citrus is also fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. Research studies suggest numerous associations of health benefits in adults and children with consumption of citrus fruit and juice – studies related to heart health, weight management, and nutrient adequacy.1-5 Citrus also delivers key nutrients that can help support a healthy immune system.
The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumers to eat more nutrient-rich foods to obtain the nutrients they need while staying within energy (calorie) needs.6 Citrus juices are reported to provide more nutrients per calorie than many other commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices.7 Pink grapefruit juice (such as Ruby Red and other colored varieties) and orange juices earned among the highest nutrient-density scores because, compared to some other fruit juices in the analysis, they are lower in calories and higher in essential nutrients.
Co-funded by the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Citrus, the study used six methodologies to quantify the nutrient density of seven commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices including apple, grape, orange, pineapple, pink grapefruit, prune and white grapefruit. Pink grapefruit juice had the highest nutrient-density score based on all methods except one, where orange juice had a slightly higher score. Orange juice ranked second in all other methods. White grapefruit juice ranked third in all six methods.
Fresh citrus fruit is nutrient-rich because it delivers substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients per calorie. In fact, the combined contribution of key nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber per calorie is higher for oranges, grapefruit and tangerines compared to other commonly consumed fresh fruit, including apples, grapes and bananas. In an analysis comparing nutrient density scores for fresh fruit, fresh citrus had higher nutrient density scores compared to many other types of commonly-consumed fresh fruit.8
Click below to view the fresh fruit nutrient density chart.
- Joshipura KJ et al. JAMA. 1999;282:1233-1239.
- Morand C et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:73–80.
- Aptekmann NP et al. Maturitas. 2010;67:343–347.
- Silver HJ et al. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2011;8:8.
- O’Neil CE et al. Nutr Res. 2011;31:673-682.
- USDA. 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm. Accessed November 8, 2011.
- Rampersaud GC. J Food Sci. 2007;72:S261-S266.
- Rampersaud G et al. Alimentos e Nutrição. 2012;23(1):7-14.