13 Health Benefits of Oranges
“Orange strengthens your emotional body, encouraging a general feeling of joy, well-being, and cheerfulness.”ť – Tae Yun Kim
Who doesn’t love a delicious and juicy orange as a snack? I enjoy eating one or two oranges a day most of the year, since they’re easy to eat and provide quick energy. They also provide the following health benefits:
13 Health Benefits of Oranges:
1. Oranges contain phytochemicals that protect against cancer.
Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
2. Orange juice can help prevent kidney diseases.
Drinking orange juice regularly prevents kidney diseases and reduces the risk of kidney stones.
Note: drink juice in moderate amounts. The high sugar content of fruit juices can cause tooth decay and the high acid content can wear away enamel if consumed in excess.
3. Mandarin oranges fight liver cancer, according to studies.
According to two studies in Japan eating mandarin oranges reduces liver cancer. This may be due in part to vitamin A compounds known as carotenoids.
4. Oranges lower cholesterol.
Since they’re full of soluble fiber, oranges are helpful in lowering cholesterol.
5. They are rich in potassium and boost heart health.
Oranges are full of potassium, an electrolyte mineral responsible for helping the heart function well. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia.
7. Oranges fight against viral infections.
Studies show that the abundance of polyphenols in oranges protects against viral infections.
8. They relieve constipation.
Oranges are full of dietary fiber which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation.
9. They aid in good eye health and protect vision.
Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds which are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration.
10. They regulate high blood pressure.
The flavonoid hesperidin found in oranges helps regulate high blood pressure and the magnesium in oranges helps maintain blood pressure.
11. They protect skin.
Oranges are full of beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from damage. Beta-carotene protects the skin from free radicals and helps prevent the signs of aging.
12. Oranges alkalize the body.
Although oranges are acidic before you digest them, they contain many alkaline minerals that help to balance out the body after they are digested. In this respect, they are similar to lemons, which are one of the most alkaline foods available.
13. Oranges provide smart carbs and do not cause a blood sugar spike.
Oranges like all fruits have simple sugars in them, but the orange has a glycemic index of 40. Anything under 55 is considered low. This means as long as you don’t eat too many oranges at one time, they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause problems with insulin or weight gain.
Interesting Orange Facts:
- Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world.
- Brazil produces more oranges than any other country.
- Navel Oranges are named after the belly button shape near the bottom.
- About 25 billion oranges are grown each year in America.
- In the 18th century British sailors took sauerkraut and citrus fruits on the ships to prevent scurvy.
- Florida produces about 70 percent of the total U.S. crop, and 90 percent of its production goes to make juice.
- In Queen Victoria’s day, oranges were given as Christmas gifts in England.
- Two most common varieties of oranges are Navel and Valencia oranges.
- Orange is the world’s third favorite flavor after chocolate and vanilla.
History of the Orange:
- Oranges were first grown in southeast Asia, northeastern India and southern China and were first cultivated in China around 2500 BC.
- In the first century AD, Romans brought young orange trees all the way from India to Rome. North Africa began growing oranges in the 1st century AD.
- Christopher Columbus brought orange seeds in 1493 across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain’s Canary Islands to Haiti, where he planted orange orchards. By 1518 oranges were introduced to Panama and Mexico, and a little later Brazil started growing orange trees.
- America’s first orange trees were planted in Florida in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.
Oranges are tropical to semitropical, small evergreen flowering trees growing to about 5 to 8 meters tall. Evergreen means they produce flowers and fruit all at the same time.
Oranges are either sweet or bitter, but most of us eat only the sweet oranges. The most popular sweet varieties are Valencia, Navel, Persian variety and blood orange.
Warm weather can cause the orange skin to re-green, but it will still taste good.
Orange peels contain many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous fluid-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells.
Selection and Storage:
- In the northern hemisphere orange fruit season begins in October and lasts until February.
- The bigger the navel in an orange, the sweeter it will be.
- Buy fresh fruits that are firm, yet yield to gentle pressure.
- Fresh oranges have bright color, no wrinkles on the skin and feel heavy for their size.
- Avoid overly soft oranges with spots and mold.
- Oranges can be kept at room temperature for a week or so and but keep well for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Keep them loose in the fruit container and place in the cool area away from excessive moisture, as they tend to get mold easily.
- Store freshly squeezed orange juice inside the freezer compartment for later use.
- Store dried orange zest in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container away from moisture.
- Moro oranges are also called blood oranges, because the pulp is bright red.
Insecticide is sprayed over most orange crops. It is important to, at the very least, wash the oranges in cold running water before use, or even better, wash them in a fruit and vegetable rinse. Organic oranges do not have these chemicals and are best suited for zest preparation.
For those susceptible to foodborne illness, you may need to avoid drinking unpasteurized or fresh-squeezed juice that could contain harmful bacteria. Try sticking to pasteurized juices.
Preparation and Serving Tips:
It is simple to eat a fresh orange anytime or anywhere. Be sure to wash them under running water to remove surface dirt and any pesticide residues.
Making fresh orange juice at home is easy and much better than commercial drinks that may contain preservatives and artificial coloring. Oranges will produce more juice when warmer, so always juice them when they are at room temperature. You can roll the orange under the palm of your hand on a flat surface to help extract more juice. Also, it is best to drink the juice at room temperature.
The outermost part of the rind can be grated to produce orange zest. It is important that you use an organic orange as this is where all the pesticides will be.
Here are a few recipes to get oranges into your diet: