Recently, I visited Armstrong Garden Centers in my neighborhood to add some fruit trees to my existing collection of guavas, oranges, lemons and grapefruits. My goal was to diversify and add some other fruit trees that would be low maintenance and be equally, or more, nutritious than the ones I currently have. With the help of the salesperson, I discovered kumquats and took a few of them home to plant in my garden. What are kumquats? Kumquats are small (generally about the size of an olive), oblong shaped fruits that resemble oranges and have a very similar taste to citrus fruits. There are four different species of kumquats, including Hong Kong Wild (Fortunella hindsii), Marumi (Fortunella japonica), Meiwa (Fortunella crassifolia) and Nagami (Fortunella margarita). The Nagami and Meiwa kumquats are the types most commonly grown in the U.S. You can easily grab a handful and pop them right in your mouth! And you should, because these little fruits pack large amounts of nutrients that can help you be proactive about protecting yourself from certain diseases and looking and feeling your best. You are supposed to eat the entire kumquat including the peel, which is especially packed with nutritional value and is the sweetest part of the fruit. What are some of the benefits of eating kumquats?
They may help prevent you from getting sick.
Eating just one kumquat (19g) provides 8.3mg of vitamin C, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Nutrient Database. Vitamin C is great at improving your immune system. Vitamin C also encourages new collagen synthesis, which means it helps build new cells. If you are recovering from surgery or have a wound that is in the process of healing, eating a few vitamin C packed kumquats may help speed up the process.
They may make you even more beautiful.
Since vitamin C promotes new collagen synthesis and provides protection against free radicals, eating kumquats can help your skin cells renew so your skin looks fresh and healthy. Kumquats are also rich in vitamin A and beta carotene (which converts to vitamin A in the body). Vitamin A also aids in new cell growth.
They may help your eyesight.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, [w]e need vitamin A for good vision and eye health, for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes.” One kumquat has 55 IU of vitamin A. Vitamin A reduces development of cataracts and also reduces macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss.
They may improve your digestive system and help combat diabetes!
Kumquats are rich in fiber, which helps eliminate excess gas, constipation, bloating and stomach cramps. Just eight little kumquats is equivalent to 10 grams of fiber! Did you know fiber also helps manage diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels? It is also reported dietary fiber prevents people from even developing diabetes!
They may help keep your bones strong
Just one kumquat has 12 mg of calcium. You already know calcium is key for building and maintaining strong bones. It is especially important to get enough calcium as you age, because bones become more brittle and fragile.
Still need more reasons to plant a kumquat tree or pop a few kumquats this spring and summer? Read more here about the benefits and nutritional value of kumquats.