A whole orange contains only about 60 calories and has no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and, “oranges are well known for their vitamin C content,” said Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist.
Indeed, oranges offer many health benefits: they boost your immune system, give you better skin, and even help improve your health heart and cholesterol levels.
In addition, some evidence suggests that eating oranges may help reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, certain camcers, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and kidney stones.
Oranges juice is also packed with nutrients. However, the juice doesn’t contain the fiber found in the orange pith, the white substance between the peel and flesh. It’s also easier to consume too many calories when drinking orange juice than when eating an orange, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most citrus fruits have a good deal of vitamin C, and oranges have high levels even compared to their tangly breathren. Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, protects cells by scavenging and neutralizing harmful free radicals, according to 2018 review published in the journal Advances in Analytical and pharmaceutical Chemistry.
Free radical are reactive atoms that can form from thing such as environmental pollution, cigarette smoke and stress, and exposure to a high level of free radicals may lead to chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
The vitamin C in oranges may also boost a person’s immunity to everyday viruses and infections such as the common cold, according to the same review.
Some research suggests that the vitamin C in oranges may be linked with a lower risk of certain cancers.
Nutrients of a half large orange (100 grams):
●Protein: 0.9 grams
●Carbs: 11.8 grams
●Sugar: 9.4 grams
●Fiber: 2.4 grams
●Fat: 0.1 grams
Oranges are mainly composed of carbs water, with very little protein and fat and few calories.
Simple sugars – such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose – are the dominant form of carbs in oranges. They are resposible for the fruit’s sweet taste.
Despite their sugar content, oranges have a low glycemic index (GI) of 31-51.
This is a measure of how quickly sugar enters your bloodstream after a meal.
Low GI values are associated with numerous health benefits.
Oranges’ low GI is explained by their high polyphenol and fiber content, which moderates the rise in the sugar.
Oranges are a good source of fiber. One large orange (184 grams) pack around 18% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
The main fibers found in oranges are pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
Dietary fiber is associated with many beneficial health effects, including improved digestive health, weight loss and colesterol.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Oranges are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and potassium.
●Vitamin C. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. One large orange provides over 100% of the RDI.
●Thiamine. One of the B vitamins, also called vitamin B1, thiamine is found in a wide variety of foods.
●Potassium. Oranges are a good source of potassium. High intake of potassium can lower blood pressure in people who already have high levels and may reduce your risk of heart disease.
OTHER PLANT COMPOUNDS
Oranges are rich in various bioactive plant compounds, which are believed to be responsible for many beneficial health effects.
The two main classes of antioxidant plant compounds in oranges are carotenoids and phenolics (phenolic compounds).
Oranges are an excellent source of phenolic compounds – especially flavonoids, which contribute to their antioxidant properties.
●Hesperidin. A citrus flavonoid that is one of the main antioxidants in oranges, hesperidin is associated with several health benefits.
●Anthocyanins. A class of antioxidant flavonoids, anthocyanins are resposible for the red flesh of blood oranges.
All citrus fruits are high in carotenoids antioxidants, which are responsible for their rich color.
●Beta-cryptoxantin. This is one of the most abundant carotenoids antioxidants in oranges. Your body converts it into vitamin A.
●Lycopene. An antioxidant found in high amounts in red-fleshed navel oranges (Cara cara oranges), lycopene is also found in tomatoes and grapefruit. It has various health benefits.
Oranges and other citrus fruits are high in citric acid and citrates, which contribite to their sour taste.
Research indicates that citric acid and citrates from oranges may help prevent kidney stone formation.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ORANGES
“The vitamin C in oranges is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer due to preventing DNA mutations from taking place,” Flores said. Studies have shown that about 10 to 15 percent of colon cancers have a mutation in a gene called BRAF.
In addition, a 2013 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found that the high amounts of vitamin C and folic acid, coupled with the antioxidant properties, in orange juice can reduce DNA damage and therefore, the risk of cancer.
In addition to vitamic C, oranges contain fiber, potassium and choline, all of which are good for your heart. Potassium, an electrolyte mineral, is vital for the healthy functioning of the nervous system, and a lack of potassium can lead to arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), increased blood pressure and a depletion of calcium in bones, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Human and animal studies indicate that regular consumption of oranges is beneficial for health.
■ Heart Health
Hearth disease is currently the world’s most common cause of premature death.
Flavonoids – especially heeperidin – in oranges may have protective effects against heart disease.
Clinical studies in humans note that daily intake of orange juice for four weeks has a blood-thining effect and may reduce blood pressure significantly.
Fibers also seem to play a role. Intake of isolated fibers from citrus fruits has been shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels.
Taken together, it is likely that regular consumption of oranges may help lower your risk of heart disease.
■ Kidney Stone Prevention
Oranges are a good source of citric acid and citrates, which are believed to help prevent kidney stone formation.
Potassium citrate is often prescribed to patients with kidney stones. Citrates in oranges seem to have similar effects
■ Anemia prevention
Anemia is a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin, decreasing its ability to carry oxygen. It is often caused by iron deficiency.
Although oranges are not a good source of iron, they are an excellent source of organic acids, such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and citric acid.
Both vitamin C and citric acid can increase your body’s absorption of iron from the digestive tract.
When eaten with iron-rich food, oranges may help prevent anemia.
WHOLE ORANGES VS. ORANGE JUICE
Orange juice is a popular drink throughout the world.
One of the main differences between pure orange juice and whole oranges is that juice is much lower in fiber.
One cup (240 ml) of pure orange juice has a similar amount of natural sugar as 2 whole oranges and is much less filling.
As a result, fruit juice consumption can often become excessive and may contribute to weight gain health problems.
This applies especially to juice that contains added sugar.
Although quality orange juice can be healthy in moderation, whole oranges are generally a much better choice.
Oranges don’t have many known adverse effects.
Some people have an orange allergy, but this is rare.
For people who experience heartburn, consumption of oranges can make symptoms worse. This is because oranges contain organic acids, mainly citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
The Bottom Line
Oranges are among the world’s most popular fruits, as they’re both tasty and nutritious.
They are a good source of vitamin C, as well as several other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
For this reason, they may lower your risk of heart disease and kidney stones.
Put simply, this bright citrus fruit is an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
References: healthline.com / livescience.com