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According to a recent survey, November through to January is the darkest period of the year for Belgian citizens. Florida Grapefruit partners up with Wim Casteleyn, chef of the Red Devils, to brighten up wintertime with exciting recipes.

BRUSSELS – A recent survey of consumers found that most Belgians considered November, December and January to be the gloomiest months of the year. The survey also found that whilst a majority of Belgians eat fruit in the winter, many are unaware of the abundance of Florida Grapefruit in their local markets and of its health benefits.

In response to this, Wim Casteleyn, the official chef of the Belgian Red Devils, has partnered with Florida Grapefruit to create exciting new recipes that feature Florida Grapefruit as a key ingredient to bring some sunshine to Belgian households this winter.

The survey, commissioned by the Florida Department of Citrus, uncovered that Belgians feel particularly unhappy during the winter months, with Belgian women feeling the effects the most. Belgians list rain, lack of sunlight and the fact that it gets darker earlier as the main causes that contribute to a greater feeling of depression during the winter months.

While November sees the highest reported levels of gloominess at 30 percent, December and January aren’t far behind at 23 and 26 percent respectively. In the battle of the sexes, women are in the lead when it comes to being affected by the weather during the winter months; 89 percent of Belgian women reported lack of sunlight as having a negative impact on their mental health, whilst 81 percent of Belgian men admitted that they were affected by the lack of sunlight.

Always look on the Bright Side of Life

So, what do Belgians do to help keep their spirits high? Most Belgians (54 percent) reported that staying at home to watch a movie or enjoying a home-cooked meal (38 percent) improves their mood during the winter. Spending time with friends and family over dinner and a movie is a great way to combat the winter blues – but it is important for Belgians to include healthy meal options and to resist extra helpings of dessert on these occasions.

Once again, Belgian women are their own worst enemy with 23 percent admitting that they eat sweets to help brighten their mood during the winter months, as opposed to just 15 percent of Belgian men. Men also exercise and play sports , natural endorphin stimulators that can help you feel happy, more than women to combat their winter ‘depression’ (21 percent vs. 12 percent respectively).

Florida Grapefruit does Football

With the recent success of the Belgian football team, Florida Grapefruit decided to team up with Wim Casteleyn, the official chef of the Red Devils, to help create some exciting new recipes featuring grapefruit as a key ingredient. These recipes highlight the uniqueness of Florida Grapefruit, and how it can be used in every meal to capture the feeling of the sun.

Wim’s collaboration with Florida Grapefruit has yielded some truly inspired dishes. For dinner, Wim combined the woodsy taste of pigeon, forest vegetables, and stuffed potato with the sweet and tangy taste of caramelized grapefruit to lighten the palette. For a refreshing and invigorating dessert, “Florida Grapefruit Lollypops” is a delicate combination of frozen Florida Grapefruit, crumbled roses, mint sugar and pink pepper that finishes any meal off perfectly.

“Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day should be an important part of every Belgian diet,” Casteleyn said. “Florida grapefruit is delicious by itself and can also be included in a variety of recipes to add flavor and a touch of sunshine. I’m happy to share some of my favorite grapefruit recipes with Red Devils fans, both young and old”.

Keep the Sunshine all year long!

Diet plays a crucial role in how the human body handles stress and sadness. While an admirable 62 percent of Belgians regularly eat fresh fruit during the winter months, only one out of three Belgians know exactly how much fruit they should be eating a day.  Walloons and Brussels-based Belgians are the most informed, with 55 percent and 51 percent of the population knowing that consuming five fruits and vegetables is an important step toward remaining healthy; only 14 percent of Flemish Belgians are aware of this fact.

‘Tis the Season to eat Grapefruit

Eating fresh and tasty produce doesn’t have to end with the summer. Apples, clementines, and tangerines are a great way of including fruit in your diet; yet sweet Florida Grapefruit is an excellent way of adding more variety, along with a splash of sunshine, to your winter fruit regime.

Unsurprisingly, 43 percent of Belgians reported noon as their favorite part of the day during the winter.  The addition of Florida Grapefruit to a varied diet is an ideal way to ensure that Belgians feel the power of the sun all day long, and beat those evening winter blues. Its sweet, juicy flesh and distinctive ruby color contain more than meets the eye; it makes an ideal ingredient in a morning smoothie, or as a topping for yogurt and granola to complete a balanced breakfast.

A Delicious Dose of Vitamins

Grapefruits contain a substantial amount of the nutrients that people need to help them maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. Worryingly, one in three Belgians don’t know that grapefruit contains the vitamins needed during the winter months, as well as all year long. Just one half of a sweet Florida Grapefruit contains 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. While well-known for  its role in supporting a healthy immune system, vitamin C also helps support collagen production. Good collagen production is key to having healthy skin and gums. Sweet pink Florida Grapefruit is also a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy vision, growth, and immune function, and provides much needed fiber to help support good health.

Whether as a juice, on its own, or as an ingredient, sweet Florida Grapefruit is the perfect way to capture the sun, and help Belgians beat the winter blues.

Editor’s Notes:

This survey was commissioned by FDOC and carried out by Ipsos. The survey was in field in November 2013. One thousand Belgian people (500 male and 500 female) were surveyed.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs nearly 76,000 people, provides an annual economic impact close to $9 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services.