Almost everyone is familiar with the taste and appearance of this sunny fruit. Orange is the most famous member of the citrus family. Apart from being very nutritious and delicious, it is also a type of low-calorie citrus fruit.
The word ‘orange’ has Dutch roots and means ‘Chinese apple’, indicating to us the country which is the home of the orange. For a long time, oranges were considered an exotic fruit, and only the rich could afford them. Now oranges are widely available all over the world so that we can fully enjoy their energising and refreshing taste!
But these are not all the positive aspects of oranges. Do you want to know more? Come with us, and we’ll tell you all about it.
Oranges – Nutrition Facts
Oranges have low energy value, a very small amount of protein, almost no fat and are not very high in carbs. They also do not contain a lot of sugar, are low in fibre and have a low glycemic index.
Oranges – Good news
Eating just a few slices of this healthy citrus fruit can do wonders for your body! Here are nine amazing benefits that eating oranges regularly may bring.
1Contain a wide range of beneficial plant compounds
Oranges are rich in phenolic compounds – especially flavonoids – which provide most of their antioxidant properties.
Hesperidin. A citrus flavonoid and one of the main antioxidants in oranges, hesperidin can have blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the body.
Naringenin. This flavonoid can help improve blood vessel function and boost the body’s antioxidant defences.
Vitamin C. It is one of the best-known and well-researched antioxidants. It is very important to maintain an optimal intake of vitamin C-rich foods and drinks, such as oranges. A higher intake of vitamin C in the diet and its concentration in the blood are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and death from all causes.
Carotenoids. All citrus fruits are high in the antioxidant carotenoids, which are responsible for their rich orange, red and yellow colours.
Beta-cryptoxanthin. This compound acts as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells from oxidative damage. Your body can also convert beta-cryptoxanthin into the active form of vitamin A.
Lycopene. This is a powerful antioxidant found in large quantities in red navel oranges (Cara Cara oranges). It has various health benefits and enough of it in your diet can help protect you against cardiovascular disease.
2May reduce the risk of developing oesophageal cancer
Oranges are an excellent source of citric acid, which may have a preventative effect against certain types of cancer. According to the study, higher concentrations of citric acid were shown to be effective in reducing the proliferation of oesophagal cancer cells and causing cellular death.
3May reduce the risk of heart attack
According to this review, researchers found that higher vitamin C intake was associated with lower levels of both cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease-related death.
4Help maintain immune health
Regular consumption of fruit, which is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, can contribute to healthy immune function. Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C. This nutrient is crucial for the functioning of immune cells, such as natural killer cells. It is also essential for the process called apoptosis, in which old, damaged cells die, and then are cleared and replaced by new healthy cells.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps to protect against the process of oxidative damage that can otherwise affect immune health and increase the risk of diseases.
5Make bones and teeth strong
If you are worried that your bones and teeth will become weak as you age, you should include oranges in your diet. Oranges are high in calcium, (100 g of orange contains 4.3% of calcium) which is good for your bones and teeth and helps keep them healthy and strong. The flavonoids and polyphenols found in oranges also protect our bodies from harmful diseases.
6Are good for pregnant women and nursing mothers
Oranges are also a source of folate (4.3% in 100 g of oranges). Pregnant women can therefore benefit from including this fruit in their diet, as intake of folate promotes the development of a healthy foetus. Breastfeeding mothers can also consume orange peel tea which helps to treat and prevent mastitis.
7Promote hormone and body juice secretion
Oranges promote the secretion of hormones and other juices from various glands in our body, such as the endocrine and exocrine glands. This secretion contributes to the production of digestive juices and enzymes, bile hormones, menstruation and lactation.
8Make skin healthier
Orange consumption will provide you with beautiful skin thanks to the good amount of vitamin C.
Eating enough vitamin C can help you maintain healthy skin and its appearance. Vitamin C promotes collagen production. Collagen supports skin, helps wound healing and improves skin strength. It fights all signs of photo-ageing: thickening and unevenness of the skin, and pigment spots. Also inhibits the production of eumelanin, which helps to lighten pigmentation and restore the skin’s radiance.
9Affordable source of vitamins
Oranges are available at most grocery stores. They don’t cost much, and they’re a great snack!
A pack of four oranges in the UK will cost you around £2.00.
100% Pure Squeezed Orange Juice Smooth Not From Concentrate 1L will cost you only £1.45.
In the USA 1 large orange will cost from $0.97 to $1.05.
100% Orange Juice With Pulp – $3.49 for a bottle.
Oranges – Bad news
Oranges don’t have a long list of adverse effects. But there are points to be aware of.
If an adult starts eating 4-5 oranges a day, vitamin C can cause heartburn, headaches, vomiting and even insomnia.
As oranges are acidic, they can also sometimes irritate the mucous membranes of the stomach in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease. People suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease should ideally consult their doctor or their nutritionist prior to consuming oranges.
Orange allergies do exist. You should avoid eating or drinking orange juice if you are allergic to them.
Fun & Curious facts about oranges
The orange colour of the fruit is caused by carotenes, a type of photosynthetic pigment. These pigments convert the light energy absorbed by plants from the sun into chemical energy for plant growth.
Oranges are non-climacteric, meaning they do not ripen after harvesting.
There are three layers in the orange: the flavedo is the outer layer from which essential oils emerge. The next soft white layer is called albedo, which protects the fruit. The sweet fleshy part is called the endocarp.
Oranges in The Blue Zones
Oranges are consumed by the people of Nicoya, Costa Rica. Oranges are one of the fruit indigenous to that area.
Salad with fennel and oranges is one of the Blue Zones recipes that uses oranges as one of the main ingredients.
Oranges. Experiment by our expert
Let’s Sum Oranges Up
Regular consumption of oranges can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, will make your bones and teeth stronger and boost your immune system. And last but not least, oranges will make your skin look great. This bright citrus fruit is a great addition to a healthy diet. But it is better to eat them raw, not just drink the juice.
Not enough? Here are some more from our colleagues!
Dr Alan Mandell has years of experience in spinal biomechanics and a vast background in nutrition. In the video below, he will tell you what is the right way to eat oranges and why you should include them in your diet.
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