The orange is one of the most common and popular fruit. It is well-liked because of its easy availability all year round, dense nutrition, and it tastes good.
Oranges are round citrus fruits ranging in diameter from about 2 to 3 inches, with finely texturized skins that are orange in color.
Its pulp is also orange in color and very succulent, surrounded by its skin which can vary in thickness depending on its variety.
There are oranges that are sweet, bitter and sour, so you’ll need to know the variety you’re buying. The sweet variety are usually more fragrant. They include Valencia, Navel and Jaffa oranges which are ideal for making juices.
In the orange family, there are also the Mandarin oranges (with loose skin), Clementine (loose skin and seedless), the tangerine (orange-red Mandarin), the Minneola (cross between tangerine and grapefruit), the blood orange that has dark burgundy colored flesh, kumquat, and a few other lesser known ones.
Nutritional Benefits of Orange
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids. One orange (130 grams) supplies nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C.
When you eat a whole orange, it provides good dietary fiber. Leave in the albedo (the white matter under the peel) as much as possible as the albedo contains the highest amount of valuable bioflavonoids and other anti-cancer agents.
In addition, oranges are a good source of vitamin A, the B vitamins, amino acids, beta-carotene, pectin, potassium, folate, calcium, iodine, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, manganese, chlorine and iron.
Health Benefits of Orange
An orange packs over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, many of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and blood clot inhibiting properties, as well as strong antioxidant effects.
The combination of the high amount of antioxidant (vitamin C) and flavonoids in oranges makes it one of the best fruits in helping to promote optimal health.
Arteriosclerosis: Regularly consuming vitamin C retards the development of hardening of the arteries.
Cancer prevention: A compound in oranges called liminoid, has been found to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. The high vitamin C content also acts as a good antioxidant that protects cells from damages by free radicals.
Cholesterol: The alkaloid synephrine found under the orange peel can reduce the liver’s production of cholesterol. Whereas the antioxidant fights oxidative stress that is the main culprit in oxidizing the LDLs in our blood.
Constipation: Even though the orange “tastes acidic”, it actually has an alkaline effect in the digestive system and helps stimulate the digestive juices, relieving constipation.
Damaged sperm, repair: An orange a day is sufficient for a man to keep his sperm healthy. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, protects sperm from genetic damage that may cause a birth defect.
Heart disease: A high intake of flavonoids and vitamin C has been known to halve the risk of heart diseases.
High blood pressure: Studies have shown that a flavonoid called hesperidin in oranges can lower high blood pressure.
Immune system: The strong content of vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, naturally building a good immune system.
Kidney stones, prevent: Drinking orange juice daily can significantly drop the risk of formation of calcium oxalate stones in the kidney.
Skin: The antioxidant in orange help protect the skin from free radical damage known to cause signs of aging.
Stomach ulcer: Consuming vitamin C rich foods helps to lower the incidence of peptic ulcers and in turn, reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
Viral infections, protection against: The abundance of polyphenols have been shown to provide protection against viral infections.
Oranges make good snack – just peel and enjoy, especially the loose skin varieties.
To extract most juice from oranges, always juice them when they are at room temperature. Rolling them under the palm of your hand on a flat surface will also help extract more juice.
Vitamin C gets destroyed fast when exposed to the air, so eat up an orange quickly once cut up. Do not leave the juice exposed for too long to preserve optimal nutrients.
Oranges can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks or stored loosely in the refrigerator. Do not store wrapped to prevent moisture and mold.
No doubt oranges have many health benefits, always remember to eat in moderation. Excessive consumption of any citrus juices can leach calcium from the body system, causing decay of the bones and teeth.
Although we often don’t eat orange peel in significant quantity, it is good to know that citrus peels contain some oils that may interfere with the effects of vitamin A (supplements).