These tasty citrus fruits that share their name with their color are thirst quenching, sweet and very popular. But all that aside, there are actually some very powerful health benefits from oranges as well. The summer favorite is packed full of vitamin C, yes, but there is actually far more to the humble orange. Let’s check it out…
A Brief History
Oranges are a sweet citrus fruit, and share their name with the word describing their color. Their ancestors are believed to date back tens of thousands of years, and their exact origin is unknown. It is believed, however, that they evolved from citron fruits in Australia and New Guinea. The first cultivated crops are understood to date back to 2500 BC in China. Oranges are not found in the wild, and are the result of cultivation and hybrids. There are many different varieties of oranges, from the common navel and Valencia to acid-less oranges (which have little taste) and the rather striking blood oranges. As the name suggests, blood oranges have red juice running through their flesh. There are also other fruits that belong to the orange family, and are similar, including tangerines and mandarins.
Nutritional Information (100 grams)
Calories – 49
Total Fat – 0.02 grams
Cholesterol – 0mg
Sodium – 1mg
Potassium – 166mg
Total Carbohydrate – 13 grams
Dietary Fiber – 2.2 grams
Sugars – 9 grams
Protein – 0.9 grams
Vitamin A – 4% of RDI
Vitamin C – 98% of RDI
Calcium – 4% of RDI
Vitamin B6 – 5% of RDI
Magnesium – 2% of RDI
Health Benefits Of Oranges
There are a number of health benefits associated with oranges. Many of them are the result of their abundance of natural vitamin C, but there are other nutrients found in these sweet, tangy fruits as well. Let’s take a look at 9 of the health benefits that can come with eating oranges…
1. Oranges Are Packed Full Of Vitamin C
This is the one that we all know, but do you know why vitamin C is so good for you? This zesty nutrient is fundamental to the body’s connective tissue development. That includes the healing of wounds and blood vessel wall support. Vitamin C is believed to minimize the risk of a number of health problems and ailments, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease, as well as improve the immune system and promote healthy hair and skin.
2. Oranges May Reduce The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Staying on the vitamin C train – the wholesome nutrient is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Low levels of vitamin C in the blood is also linked to an increased risk of stroke, strengthening the belief that it helps reduce the risk of heart problems.
3. Oranges Boost Immunity
There’s a reason vitamin supplements come in orange flavor! Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for immunity. Like most citrus fruits, oranges are packed full of the powerful vitamin, and actually have more than many other citrons. It protects your immunity by neutralizing free raticals and fight everyday viruses, like the common cold and flu. It works best as a preventative measure. In other words, if you’re hit with a bad dose of the flu, eating an orange won’t cure you. It’s certainly good to keep your fruit and liquid intake up, but it’s just as important when you’re healthy to maintain a strong immune system and try to avoid catching a virus in the first place!
4. Oranges Can Help Prevent Asthma And Allergies
The vitamin C in oranges can help reduce symptoms of asthma and allergies by boosting your immune function, as mentioned above! A number of studies have found consuming the vitamin has positive effects on pulmonary function tests, decreased respiratory infection, improved white blood cell function and motility, and bronchoprovacation challenges with ethacholine, histamine and allergens.
5. Oranges Are Good For Digestion
All fruits and vegetables are good for keeping your digestive system moving and working. Oranges are packed full of fiber, which is vital to digestive function, keeping you regular. Dietary fiber works in this sense by stimulating digestive juices, therefore relieving constipation.
6. Oranges May Help Lower Cholesterol
Like any whole foods packed full of soluble fiber, oranges can be helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. A very new piece of research, published in May 2017, looked at the nutraceutical value in citrus fruits, including oranges. Researchers found hesperidin, an antioxidant found in oranges, may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure.
7. Oranges Help To Promote Heart Health
Oranges have important nutrients that support and promote heart health. They include fiber, potassium, vitamin C (surprise!), and choline. Potassium for example, is a mineral that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Increasing your potassium intake, while decreasing your sodium intake, can help protect your heart from health problems. One study found participants with the highest sodium diet had a 20 per cent higher risk of death than participants with the lowest sodium intakes. On the other hand, the people who consumed the highest amount of potassium had a 20 per cent lower risk of dying than those who consumed the lowest amounts. More interestingly though was the relationship between potassium and sodium. People who had the highest ration of sodium to potassium doubled their risk of dying from a heart attack than those with the lowest ratio difference.
8. Oranges Have Nutrients That Promote Healthy Skin
All fruit and vegetables are beneficial to skin health and promote clear, glowing skin. There are a few reasons these natural whole foods do that. It is partly because they are packed full of water, which rehydrates the body, including the skin. They also have important vitamins and minerals that feed the skin and keep it healthy. Oranges have the important antioxidant vitamin C and beta-carotene, which can help protect against sun damage and pollution. However, having said that, it is still important to use sun safety, like hats and sunscreen. Vitamin C can also reduce wrinkles and improve the skin’s texture, as well as promoting the growth and formation of collagen.
9. Oranges Are Good For Your Eyes
As well as your skin, some of the nutrients in oranges are also good for your eyes! Just like everywhere else on your body, your eyes age and suffer from environmental damage as the years roll on. Vitamin C, A and potassium, are all important for eye health and are all found in high doses in oranges.
But Be Warned…
Orange juice has a very high sugar content, which is why it’s better to eat it as a fruit, rather than drinking the juice. That way you get the fiber as well, which slows down the digestion of the sugar, reducing the risk of a sugar spike and crash. Beside the impact of too much sugar metabolizing in the body, it can cause tooth decay. Citrus fruits also have a high acid content, which can eat away enamel on your teeth as well if consumed in excess.
Avocado Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad – This has just the right mix and ratio of sweet, tangy, creamy and savory ingredients for a healthy but satisfying lunch or light summer dinner. The recipe calls for toasted sesame ginger dressing, lettuch, mandarin oranges, cucumber, avocado, chicken breast, crispy onions and won ton strips.
Dukkah & Blood Orange Breakfast Bowl – If you haven’t tasted dukkah, now is the time to do it. You will never look back! The delicious seasoning or dry dip is made out of roasted and pounded nuts, seeds and spices, and has a strong salty taste. That makes it the perfect accompaniment to sweet oranges, making this an irresistible, creative breakfast option. The recipe includes coconut yogurt, cashew cream, rose hip puree, caramelized walnuts, a blood orange and dukkah.
Citrus, Fennel & Chicken Bake – Now for something a little more hearty and suitable for colder evenings. The actual preparation of this meal is quite easy, but you do need to make sure you can start it a couple hours before you want to eat, because it takes that long to cook in the oven! The recipe calls for chicken, olive oil, wholegrain Dijon mustard, honey, lemons, oranges, rosemary, garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves and dry white wine.
Orange Poppy Seed Bread – Now for a classic combination of ingredients – citrus fruit and poppy seeds! There are endless amounts of orange and poppy seed or lemon and poppy seed recipes floating around. Most of them are full of refined carbs and sugar, but this tasty bread is a healthier option for you to try! This one is made with whole wheat flour, corn meal flour, coconut sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, orange, flax seed eggs, coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract and orange extract. As well as being healthier than traditional orange poppy seed recipes, it’s also vegan!
Beet & Orange Juice – Sweet, tangy and full of nutrients all-in-one, this beautiful dark pink juice is an incredible immune booster. Made with heart-healthy ingredients, including beets, carrots, apples, oranges and lemons, it is a quick easy antioxidant-rich drink!
Coconut, Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup – You can’t beat a classic winter vegetable soup on a cold day. This one has a delicious twist with spices, creamy coconut, and sweet citrusy orange! The recipe calls for carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, pepper, orange, coconut milk and olive oil.
Dark Chocolate Orange Muffins – And last, but definitely not least, don’t worry – we did not forget the decadent, irresistible flavor pairing of orange and chocolate! But we’ve found a healthy option for you that you don’t have to feel guilty about. This delicious muffin recipe is made with coconut oil, bananas, eggs, yogurt, almond milk, honey, vanilla extract, whole wheat flour, cacao powder, chia seeds, flaxseed, oats, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, orange and chocolate chips. Depending on the chocolate chips you choose, this recipe is free from refined carbohydrates and refined sugar. Enjoy!