Oranges can be had not only as a snack but also as a major recipe ingredient in various dishes. Nowadays orange juice is an integral part of a healthy breakfast thus promoting a healthy start to the day.
They’re mainly available in two categories — sweet and bitter, with the former being the type most commonly consumed. Generally, an orange should have smoothly textured skin and be firm and heavy for its size. These will have higher juice content than those that are either spongy or lighter in weight.
A whole orange is more nutritious and healthy than orange juice. That’s because of the presence of fiber in it. One cup or 240 ml of pure orange juice has the same amount of natural sugar as 2 whole oranges but is less filling due to its low fiber content. Fiber helps to bulk up your stool and prevents constipation.
When you are trying to lose weight eating fruit is a much better option than drinking juice as fruit juice consumption can often become excessive and may lead to excess calorie consumption.
If you still want to drink juice then be careful with the quantity and take only freshly squeezed orange juice. The packaged drink that you get from the supermarket is not that healthy and contains preservatives.
Oranges are safe for consumption and only in rare cases, people may have allergies after consuming this fruit. For people suffering from heartburn, consuming this citric fruit might make things worse due to the presence of citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Benefits of eating oranges
High in Vitamin C
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. One orange offers 116.2 percent of the daily value for vitamin C. A good intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer as it helps to get free radicals that cause damage to our DNA.
Healthy immune system
Vitamin C, which is also vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system, is good for preventing colds and preventing recurrent ear infections.
Prevents skin damage
Anti-oxidants in oranges help protect skin from free radical damage known to cause signs of aging. An orange a day can help you look young even at 50!
Keeps blood pressure under check
Oranges, being rich in Vitamins B6, help support the production of hemoglobin and also help keep blood pressure under check due to the presence of magnesium.
According to a study by US and Canadian researchers, a class of compounds found in citrus fruit peels called polymethoxylated Flavones (PMFs) have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs without side effects.
Helps absorption of iron
Citrus fruits are very much essential for the normal functioning of our body as they help in the absorption of iron. Doctors have always recommended anemic patients have citrus fruits. Anemia is a condition where the body lacks an adequate amount of mineral iron that is essential for it to function. Though oranges are not a good source of iron, these vitamin C-loaded fruits are essential in the absorption of iron.
Promotes good heart health
The nutrients present in the oranges reduce the risk of heart disease if these fruits are consumed within the permissible limit. Heart diseases are one of the major reasons for premature death worldwide. Since oranges can regulate the blood cholesterol level, a reason behind most heart ailments, it is linked to good heart health.
Controls blood sugar level
Fiber in oranges helps by keeping blood sugar levels under control thereby making oranges a healthy snack for people with diabetes. Moreover, oranges have simple sugars. The natural fruit sugar in oranges, fructose, can help keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.
Its glycemic index is 40 and normally whatever foods fall under 50 are considered to be low in sugar. However, that does not mean you go about eating too many oranges in one go. Eating too much can spike insulin and may even lead to weight gain.
Lowers the risk of cancer
Oranges contain D- limonene, a compound that is touted to prevent cancers like lung cancer, skin cancer, and even breast cancer. Vitamin C and antioxidants present in oranges are both important to build the body’s immunity – they help in fighting cancer.
The fibrous nature of the fruit also makes it cancer-protective. According to a study, up to 15 percent of cancer cases happen because of mutations in the DNA, which can be prevented with Vitamin C.
Alkalizes the body
While the basic nature of oranges is acidic before you actually digest them, they have a lot of alkaline minerals that play a role in the process of digestion.
This property of oranges is similar to that of lemons, which are without a doubt among the most alkaline foods.
Good eye health
Oranges are a rich source of carotenoids. The Vitamin A present in them play an important role in keeping the mucus membranes in the eyes healthy.
Vitamin A is also responsible to prevent age-related macular degeneration, which in extreme cases can lead to blindness. It also helps the eyes to absorb light.
Safeguards against constipation
Oranges have both soluble and insoluble fiber. This helps in keeping your intestines and stomach function smooth, preventing irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, fiber helps treat constipation to a greater extent.
Oranges like most citrus fruits produce more juice when warmer — juice them when they are at room temperature. Rolling the orange under the palm of your hand on a flat surface will also help to extract more juice. Vitamin C gets destroyed fast when exposed to air, so eat an orange quickly once cut up.
History of oranges
Oranges have a very interesting history. The first set of oranges was grown in the northeastern part of India, Southeast Asia, and the south of China. They were first cultivated in China in 2500 BC. It was in the first century AD, that Roman took young orange trees from India to Rome
Christopher Columbus planted orange orchards in Haiti. He had bought the seeds in 1493. By the year 1518, Panama and Mexico also got their first taste of oranges, and shortly thereafter Brazil started growing their own. America plants its first orange trees in 1513. It was done by Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer. The sweetest variety of oranges is Valencia, bloody orange, Navel, and the Persian variety.