Orange: the color of the setting sun, Syracuse basketball and delicious fruit. The fruit comes in many forms-from Jaffa oranges to blood oranges- and all of them are healthy delicious treats. Back before refrigeration and fast transportation, oranges were a rare and expensive gift that eaten only at holiday time. Now they are everywhere! Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C and full of other antioxidants that are good for you. Oranges are a breakfast staple, though orange juice should be consumed in small amounts because the high sugar content of fruit juices can cause tooth decay if consumed in excess.
The Top Ten Health Benefits of Oranges
- Help Prevent Various Types of Cancer: Citrus is more than just a fresh, sour flavor used for livening up food and drink. The citrus limonoids common in oranges are proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer. In tests on animal and human cells, researchers proved citrus could help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
- Boosts Immune System: Citrus fruits are also a great way to keep you health in the present. That’s because they are filled with Vitamin C, which you need to produce the white blood cells that destroy viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. Oranges also contain vitamin A, folate and copper, nutrients that assist Vitamin C in keeping your immune system in tip-top shape.
- Help Reduce Kidney Stones: Not all citrus juices are created equal. A recent study found that orange juice, but not lemon juice, can prevent painful kidney stones from forming. The high levels of potassium found in oranges is thought to be responsible for keeping kidney stones at bay by flushing harmful free radicals out of the organs.
- Promotes Heart Health: Potassium, an electrolyte mineral, is responsible for helping the heart function well. Potassium is involved in every heart beat, as it helps the heart squeeze and send blood through the body.
- Lowers Cholesterol: Oranges do not contain any cholesterol, but they can lower the levels of cholesterol in your body. The Vitamin C in oranges is the antioxidant in oranges that contributes to their ORAC value of 2,103. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which is used to measure antioxidant levels with cardiovascular benefits. Vitamin C neutralizes the free radicals that oxidize cholesterol, which is what makes it stick to the artery walls.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: The herperidin flavanone found in oranges can lower high blood pressure. One word of warning: if you want the cardiovascular benefits of this phytonutrient, don’t juice your oranges. Herperidin is located in the white pulpy part between the inner orange flesh and the outer skin.
- Regulates Blood Sugar: Oranges may be sweet, but they’re high in fiber, which keeps blood sugar levels low. Fructose, the natural sugar found in oranges, prevents blood sugar levels from spiking after eating. Therefore, oranges are a great desert or can be added as an ingredient to an entree.
- Prevents Ulcers: Not only do oranges prevent stomach cancer, they also prevent painful ulcers from forming in your stomach. Stomach ulcers are agonizing sores that form inside your stomach and mess with the digestive process. Although they are fairly easy to eliminate, it is better to prevent them from forming in the first place. A study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people with diets high in Vitamin C were less likely to get ulcers than people who are Vitamin c deficient. An orange contains up to 89% of Vitamin C.
- Good For Respiratory System: Oranges are loaded with beta-cryptoxanthin, a phytonutrient that may significantly reduce risk of lung cancer.
- Radiant Skin: The beta-carotene in oranges prevents free radicals that damage skin. So eat lots of oranges to have healthy, clean skin.