Oranges are a delicious, effervescent, low sugar fruit you can add into your diet as part of your 7 – 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Most of us are brought up with the knowledge that oranges and orange juice are great for getting plenty vitamin C every day. However, there are several other health benefits that come from regularly consuming this, the tastiest of all citrus fruits.
Oranges contain at least 170 known phytonutrients. One of which, Gallic Acid is very abundant in oranges. One serving delivers 84mg of Gallic Acid. GA is a powerful citrus-based polyphenol antioxidant that also acts as a neuroprotective compound, and has been shown to prevent the formation of amyloid fibrils; a harmful protein that leads to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia.
Limonoids (cancer prevention)
Liminoids are phytochemicals that are found in plants. Oranges contain 3 of the 4 liminoids found in nature: limonin, nomilin, and nomilinic acid. They have far-reaching health effects that are similar to the phenols found in dark chocolate and green tea (learn more). They stop cancer from forming, and are essential to helping stop the proliferation of cancer cells in patients who’re already in treatment for the disease. What makes Liminoids so important is their longevity in the bloodstream. Polyphenols from chocolate and tea remain in our body for only 6 hours at most; Liminoids can last up to 24 hours.
Every cell in the human body is in a constant struggle with oxidative damage. Dangerous free radicals enter our bodies from eating, drinking, and the air we breathe, causing everything from skin wrinkles to cancer. Oxidation also causes LDL cholesterol to be altered. When LDL oxidizes it becomes sticky and causes arteriosclerosis (ie., narrowing of the arteries). Antioxidants block free radicals from entering cells. Citrus fruits, including oranges have more antioxidants than any other fruit. There are 4 very powerful antioxidants of note to be found in an orange: cyanidin-3-glucoside, flavanones, carotenoids, and vitamin C.
Most Bioavailable Vitamin C Source
A large orange provides 160% of our daily value for vitamin C. This vitamin is the most potent of all antioxidants and a surprising fact about oranges is that they contain a more readily-absorbable source of it than any other fruit. Studies have shown that the vitamin C in oranges offer up to 18% more protection to our DNA than other forms found in other foods and supplements.
Oranges are rich in a slew of nutrients that contribute to optimal heart health. One medium orange delivers 9% of our daily potassium needs; a mineral essential for maintaining proper blood pressure. That same serving size provides 14% DV of folate, a nutrient that’s essential for maintaining the rhythm of the heart. For an added boost to your heart health, consider consuming the orange peel to get a huge dose of polymethoxylated flavones, which detoxify the liver and prevent the production of triglycerides and bad (LDL) cholesterol in the liver. Last, the carotenoids and flavonoids in oranges aid in red blood cell production and also have proven anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation causes arteries to narrow and leads to plaque formation.
Oranges have an abundance of arthritis-fighting nutrients including 3 very important phytonutrients: carotenoids, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. Zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin are often deficient in most western diets and a 2010 study performed by EPIC Norfolk showed the people who consumed the most of each were 20 – 40% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, the most severe form of the disease (source).
Great Source of Fiber
A medium orange comes with over 3g of fiber, which is 10% DV for men, and around 8% DV for women. Over half the fiber found in that serving is soluble fiber, which helps to slow the absorbtion of the sugar from the fruit, and also binds with LDL (bad) cholesterol when it hits the bloodstream – carrying it back to the liver for safe removal from the body. Last, the remaining insoluble fiber helps to push waste out of your bowels, preventing constipation and irritation/cancer-causing inflammation from forming.
Want to Know More?
If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of oranges out there, along with tips for selecting and eating them, check out this great guide on Sunkist.com