Oranges are the citrus fruit that belong to the family of Rutaceae, a flowering plant family which also includes pomelo, grapefruit, and tangerine (mandarin orange).
Orange is native to Southeast Asia and now has been cultivated worldwide in warm climate regions. Oranges are classified into two general categories; sweet orange (citrus sinensis) and bitter orange (citrus aurantium). The sweet variety are usually more fragrant, they include Navel, Persian, Valencia variety and blood orange.
Orange is one of the most common and popular fruit in the world. It is well-liked because of its easy availability all year round and it tastes good.
Apart from its delightful taste, oranges are also contain many essential nutrients like Vitamin A, B1, and C. One orange supplies nearly 100% of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C. According to calorie count, the nutritional value of one orange (131 grams) is as shown below.
In addition to that, oranges are also a good source of amino acids, beta-carotene, folic acid, pectin, potassium, calcium, iron, iodine, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, chlorine and zinc. An orange packs over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, which have been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and strong anti-oxidant properties.
The combination of the high amount of anti-oxidant (vitamin C) and flavonoids in oranges make it one of the best fruits in helping to promote optimal health. Here are 15 health benefits of oranges:
- Prevent cancer
A compound found in oranges and other citrus fruits, called D-limonene has been found to be effective in the prevention of some cancers such as, skin cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer and colon cancer. The high vitamin C content also acts as an anti-oxidant that protects cells from damages by free radicals.
- Lower cholesterol
One of the most important flavonoids in oranges is hesperidin. Hesperidin and the pectin in oranges have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. The concentration of hesperidin is considerably higher in the inner peel, rather than in orange flesh. Pectin appears to slow the body’s absorption of fats and lower cholesterol levels.
- Lower high blood pressure
Studies have shown that a flavonoid called hesperidin and magnesium in oranges can lower high blood pressure.
- Cardiovascular benefits
Oranges contains dietary fiber, folate, and herperidin, which are directly promotes the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. Eating an orange a day helps to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
- Treat arthritis
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, oranges help in relieving arthritis pain and stiffness of muscles and joints. In a study at the Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit in the UK, suggested that one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice per day is associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Proper brain development
Oranges are a good source of folate or folic acid which helps in the proper development of brain.
- Keep sperm healthy
Orange contains folate, an essential nutrient for healthy sperm and protects sperm from genetic damage that may cause a birth defect.
- Strengthen immune system
The strong content of vitamin C in orange stimulates the production of white cells in our body, thus improving the immune system.
- Prevent kidney stones
Regular consumption of orange juice can significantly reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. In a preliminary study involving nine healthy and four participants with kidney stones, it is suggested that orange juice consumption may be more effective than other citrus juice in the prevention of kidney stones. Further studies are needed to evaluate these results.
- Promotes weight loss
Oranges are extremely low in calories. A medium orange contains just 65 calories, making it a good addition to a healthy diet for weight loss. They also have a high fiber content, which can make you feel full longer, so you eat less.
- Maintain a healthy skin
The antioxidants in orange help protect the skin from free radical damage known to cause signs of aging.
- Protects against infections
Due to the abundance of flavonoid polyphenols, oranges may help protect against viral infections.
- Relieve constipation
A high fiber content in oranges help stimulate the digestive juices, thus relieving constipation.
- Maintain bone and teeth health
Oranges are also rich in calcium, which helps protect and maintain bone as well teeth health.
- Prevent ulcers
Due to its high fiber content, oranges also can help protect against ulcers. Studies suggest that eating an orange a day may help prevent the formation of stomach ulcer.