The real benefits of oranges are the healing powers they bring to your table. Not only can they help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke but this humble fruit can also help fight cancer as well as put a hold on inflammation. Oranges are an incredibly versatile fruit and perhaps a near-perfect fruit too because they come gift-wrapped in their own protective skin. So who doesn't love oranges? And the best part - You can eat them anywhere and anytime.
Yet oranges are much more than just a wholesome and convenient food when you're on the go. They also contain four beneficial compounds, namely, limonin, limonene, limonin glucoside and hesperidin. Okay, while these compounds may not mean that much to you as a layman, they do show a remarkable promise in blocking cancer.
In particular, the chemical compound limonene may also be a significant help in blocking lung cancer. That in itself is a good enough reason to eat them. Plus, oranges contain other compounds that may be able to help stop heart disease before it starts. All the more reason to eat them.
Now you may find this next bit of information a little bizarre but nevertheless I should pass it on anyway. Oranges are particularly beneficial for those of you who can't help puffing away on cigarettes, cigars or pipes. And the reason being is that oranges help fight free radicals - dangerous oxygen molecules that causes untold damage to your cells and tissue. What oranges, as well as other fruits and vegetables do, is clean up the mess that the free radicals create.
Whether you smoke or not, oranges as well as a whole host of other fruits can do wonders for your overall health. However, if you are a smoker, you may want to stock up on oranges. A lot more oranges because you need to eat an orange after every ciggie you take. Sure, you could make enough fresh orange juice to last you the whole day if it's more convenient. I also urge you to read the definition of free radicals and see how you can benefit from the knowledge.
Oranges are best known for their vitamin C content and with good reason. One orange contains about 70 milligrams of vitamin C, almost 117 per cent of the Daily Value (DV). Vitamin C is critical, not only for controlling the harmful effects of free radicals, but also for aiding healing and boosting your immune system. It's vitamin C's immune-boosting power that gives it its reputation for fighting the symptoms of the common cold.
Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron from food, which is particularly important for women who lose a little bit of iron (and blood) each month during menstruation. The more vitamin C you get, the lower your risk of getting cancer. Not only are oranges high in vitamin C, they're also high in fibre and they're rich in natural sugars too. Great if you need a quick boost of energy.
The vitamins and chemical compounds found in oranges have surprisingly effective antioxidant health benefits in that they block these free radical before they can do any significant harm. This is important because free radicals damage can set the stage for your arteries to start clogging, a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
While vitamin C has long been recognised as a powerful antioxidant, there are other compounds in oranges that are even more powerful. The antioxidant capacity of vitamin C in oranges only accounts for maybe 15 to 20 per cent of the total activity, the other compounds in oranges turns up a much stronger antioxidant capacity which could be anywhere from three to six times the potency of vitamin C.
Studies have found that the compound hesperidin in oranges could significantly raise the levels of healthful high-density lipoprotein cholesterol while at the same time lower the dangerous low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. And we all know by now that a high cholesterol level is one of the main causes of heart disease. Hesperidin may have other benefits as well in that it could help stop inflammation and since it doesn't damage the delicate lining of your stomach the way that aspirin can, it could be useful to help relieve swelling should you be sensitive to other anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
One orange contains approximately 3 grams of insoluble fibre, about 12 per cent of the Daily Value. And because this fibre adds bulk to your stools, it can help relieve a whole host of intestinal problems from constipation and haemorrhoids to diverticulosis. By speeding digestion, fibre can also help reduce your risk of colon cancer simply by moving the stool and any other harmful substances it might contain through your colon more quickly.
Oranges also contain a second form of fibre called soluble fibre. This type of fibre, which includes pectin, breaks down to form a gel-like barrier in your small intestine and this has shown that it can help lower cholesterol as well as help control changes in your blood sugar, critical if you have diabetes.
If you were to eat more than seven oranges a day, you could, in effect, lower your total cholesterol by about 20 per cent. But it's highly unlikely that you'll eat that many oranges in one day unless of course, you happen to be in Morocco or Spain during the hot summer months as I had experienced. Wandering around the Medina in Marrakesh in August can get pretty hot and what better way to quench your thirst with freshly squeezed ice-cold orange juice.
And you won't have to go that far to find orange juice in Marrakesh. If memory serves me, I counted over 50 orange carts and their vendors all screaming for my attention. I had the difficulty of choosing just one. It was probably the best orange juice I had tasted. After filling my tank on vitamin C, I bought another litre of the fresh juice for my outgoing journey. It still wasn't enough. By eating oranges or drinking the juice or doing the same with a variety of other fresh fruits and vegetables, you can do a heck of a lot to keep your thirst at bay as well as keeping your cholesterol levels down and getting plenty of vitamin C.
There's a lot more to the benefits of oranges than just a sweet snack. Whether you're adding slices to your morning yoghurt, squeezing fresh juice or adding sections to a stew, there's a certain type of orange and a way of using them that's right for the job. Navel oranges from California are often considered the best in the west for eating. They're easy to peel, have no seeds and are sweet and juicy. On the other hand, oranges from Valencia in Spain are juicier and are great for juicing. However, most oranges are good to go, no matter where you are in the world.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your oranges:
1) Don't freeze the juice made from navel oranges because the cold, like heat, could cause it to turn bitter.
2) To get the most juice out of an orange, warm the fruit at room temperature, then roll it on the counter with the palm of your hand before squeezing.
3) If you want to add navel oranges to a cooked dish, place them in at the last minute to avoid them turning bitter.
Stock your Freezer.
Drinking orange juice is one of the easiest ways in which to get more vitamin C in your diet. It might be a bother to make but the fresh juice is delicious, especially on a hot and humid day. Fortunately, frozen orange juice retains most of the nutrients. During the orange season, most supermarkets around the world sell freshly squeezed orange juice so you may not have to squeeze your own. And since juice manufacturers squeeze every last drop from their fruit, a lot of the potent compounds in the peel wind up in the concentrate, providing even more health benefits along with the good taste.
Eat the Sections.
Half of an orange's pectin is contained in the Alberto, that is the inner white spongy layer that lies right under the colourful part of the skin. So don't be too neat when eating the fruit. By eating a little more of the spongy layer with each section will provide you with more of the good fibre.
One of the best things about oranges is their great taste and their citrus zing. But be aware that for some, the natural acids can deliver a painful bite. While some of you may have severe allergic reactions to oranges, some of you may have a condition called oral allergy syndrome which causes itching and burning in your mouth or throat. This can be caused by eating not only oranges but also other citrus fruits such as lemons or limes.
The same can be said from other fresh fruits and vegetables. While reactions to citrus fruits are rare in adults, they occur more often in young children. Infants may get a rash around their mouths because of the natural acids in foods like oranges. However, in most cases, the discomfort is only temporary and healing quickly occurs once the offending food is taken away.
Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.