Oranges are known for being juicy, delicious and rich in vitamin C. They are tropical fruits in the same fruit family as lemon, pomelo, grapefruit, and tangerine. Oranges are highly nutritious and aside from vitamin C also have fibre, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, iron, and carbohydrates. This makes oranges highly beneficial to overall health.
Roughly 60-70% of the human body is made of water and it’s required for every bodily process. Oranges are water-rich, working to hydrate the body. Consuming enough fluid daily helps support mental and physical energy, improves circulation, optimizes organ function, flushes out waste and maximize metabolism.
High vitamin C and antioxidants
The vitamin C in oranges benefits the body in varied ways:
- Protects your cells from damage
- Helps your body make collagen, a protein that heals wounds and gives you smoother skin
- Boosts your immune system, your body’s defence against germs
- Slows the advance of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss
- Helps fight cancer-causing free radicals
- Lower blood pressure may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- It can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re feeling anxious
- Serotonin production promotes sleep and happiness
- Makes it easier to absorb iron to fight anaemia. It also enhances oxygen availability and reduces fatigue. It’s especially important for premenopausal women who lose a lot of iron through menstruation.
Antioxidants in oranges protect the cells from damaging free radicals. Antioxidants in oranges may also protect mental health. One study found that these antioxidants in oranges lower the risk of depression, particularly among older women. 7 Daily Habits For Managing Depression
Support gut and digestive health
The fibre in oranges supports overall digestive function, helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, boosts feelings of fullness, and can even contribute to healthy sleep. Fibre also keeps ulcers at bay.
Oranges are high in calcium which keeps bones, organs, and muscles strong.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in an attempt to fight them. Inflammation becomes a problem when the body triggers it even though there are no pathogens to fight. This inflammation can lead to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Oranges have anti-inflammatory properties that work to fight inflammation.
Protection from cancer and neurodegenerative diseases
Research shows that flavonoids in citrus peels may help prevent the reproduction, growth, and spread of cancer cells. The peels also support apoptsosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to kill off dysfunctional cells. The orange rind has also been shown to protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
If you choose to eat citrus peels, opt for organic fruits that have minimal if any exposure to pesticides. Grate the outer skin, avoiding the more bitter white pith. You can add the zest to homemade salads, stir-fries, desserts, baked goods, and more.
Protects heart health
Potassium and vitamin C lower blood pressure. Oranges also help lower the levels of cholesterol. The high soluble fibre promotes fat removal from blood. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are both linked to heart disease.
Rich in folate
Oranges provide a big dose of folate. The body uses it to divide cells and make DNA. Folate also helps prevent birth defects making it especially important for pregnant women.
Regulates blood sugar
Oranges have a low glycemic index which is beneficial for people with high blood sugar levels. They are also high in soluble fibre that helps slow the absorption of sugar in the blood thus preventing spikes. Studies suggest that eating the fruit may lower the risk of diabetes while drinking the juice only may raise the risk of diabetes.
Oranges are sweet with a medium-sized one having on average 12 grams of sugar. This sugar is however all-natural and is a better option when you’re craving something sweet than a candy bar would be. Plus all the fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants that come with it make it a much better option overall.
Oranges are commonly eaten fresh/whole, juiced, used as toppings on salads, and mixed in marinades, sauces, and syrups. The bitter varieties and peels can be used to make marinades, candies, and orange-flavoured liqueurs.