“Orange strengthens your emotional body, encouraging a general feeling of joy, well-being, and cheerfulness.” – Tae Yun Kim
Who does not love a delicious and juicy orange as a snack! They are popular with athletes because they can be easily eaten for a burst of energy. I enjoy eating one or two oranges a day most of the year for the same reasons and I am not an athlete.
13 Health Benefits of Oranges:
1. Helps Prevent Cancer
Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer, including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
2. Prevents Kidney Diseases
Regular drinking of orange juice prevents kidney diseases and reduces the risk of kidney stones.
Note: drink juice in moderate amounts. The high sugar content of fruit juices can cause tooth decay and the high acid content can wear away enamel it taken in excess.
3. Reduces the risk of liver cancer
According to two studies in Japan eating mandarin oranges reduces liver cancer. This may be due in part to vitamin A compounds known as carotenoids.
4. Lowers Cholesterol
Being full of soluble fiber, oranges are helpful in lowering cholesterol.
5. Helps the Heart to Function
Oranges are full of potassium, an electrolyte mineral is responsible for helping the heart function well. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia.
6. Risk of Disease is Lowered
Oranges are full of vitamin C which protects cells by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals cause chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease.
8. Relieves Constipation
Oranges are full of dietary fiber which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation.
9. Help Create Good Vision
Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds which are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration.
10. Regulates High Blood Pressure
The flavonoid hesperidin found in oranges helps regulate high blood pressure and magnesium in oranges helps to maintain blood pressure.
11. Skin is Protected
Oranges are full of beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant protecting the cells from being damage which also protects the skin from free radicals and prevents the signs of aging.
12. Oranges Alkalize the Body
Although oranges are acidic before you digest them, they contain many alkaline minerals that help to balance out the body after they are digested. In this respect they are similar to lemons which are one of the most alkaline foods available.
13. Smart Carb:
Oranges like all fruits have simple sugars in them, but the orange has a glycemic index of 40. Anything under 55 is considered low. This means as long as you don’t eat a lot of oranges at one time, it won’t spike your blood sugar and cause problems with insulin or weight gain. They make a great snack, much better than junk food snacks.
Oranges have so many benefits and I consider them a Powerfood.
They have a wealth of nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A precursors, calcium, potassium, and pectin. For a complete list of its nutrients and calories go to calories in a an orange.
Interesting Orange Facts:
- Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the World
- Brazil produces more oranges than any other country.
- Navel Oranges are named after the belly button shape near the bottom!
- About 25 billion oranges are grown each year in America.
- In the 18th Century British sailors took sauerkraut and citrus fruits on the ships to prevent scurvy
- Florida produces about 70% of the total U.S. crop, and 90% of its production goes to make juice.
- In Queen Victoria’s day, oranges were given as Christmas gifts in England.
- Did you know that the colour orange came from the orange fruit?
- Two most common varieties of oranges are navel and Valencia oranges.
- Orange is the world’s third most favourite flavor after chocolate and vanilla.
- Oranges where first grown in south East Asia, north eastern India or southern China and were first cultivated in China around 2500 BC.
- In the 1st century AD, Romans brought young orange trees all the way from India to Rome. North Africa began growing oranges in the 1st century AD.
- Christopher Columbus brought orange seeds in 1493 across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain’s Canary Islands to Haiti, where he planted orange orchards. By 1518 oranges were introduced Panama and Mexico and a little later Brazil started growing orange trees.
- America’s first orange trees were planted in Florida in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.
They are a tropical to semitropical, small evergreen flowering tree growing to about 5 to 8 m tall. Being evergreen means the produce flowers and fruit all the same time.
Oranges are either sweet or bitter but as we know most of us eat only the sweet oranges. The most popular sweet varieties are Valencia, Navel, Persian variety, and blood orange.
Warm weather can cause the orange skin to re-green but it will still taste good.
Orange peel contains many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous fluid-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells).
Selection and storage
- In the northern hemisphere orange fruit season begins from October and lasts until February so this is when you will get the best oranges.
- The bigger the navel in an orange, the sweeter it will be.
- Buy fresh fruits that are firm, yet yield to gentle pressure but rebound immediately.
- Fresh oranges have bright color, no wrinkles on the skin, and feel heavy for their size.
- Avoid overly soft oranges with spots and mold.
- Oranges can be kept at room temperature for a week or so and but keep well for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Keep them loose in the fruit container and place in the cool area away from excessive moisture as they tend to get mold infection early.
- Store freshly squeezed orange juice inside the freezer compartment for later use.
- Store dried orange zest in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container away from moisture.
- Moro oranges are also called blood oranges because the pulp is bright red.
Insecticide is sprayed over orange crops. It is important to at the very least wash the oranges in cold running water before use. Better is to wash them in a fruit and vegetable rinse. Organic oranges do not have these chemicals and are best suited for zest preparation.
Those susceptible to food borne illness may need to avoid drinking unpasteurized or fresh-squeezed juice that could contain bacteria that cause food borne illness. Those people should buy pasteurized juices.
Preparation and Serving tips
It is simple to eat a fresh orange anytime or anywhere. Do wash them under running water to remove surface dirt and any pesticide residues then peel the skin, and yum!
Making fresh orange juice at home is so easy and much better than those commercial drinks that may contain preservatives and artificial colouring. Oranges will produce more juice when warmer, so always juice them when they are at room temperature. You can roll the orange under the palm of your hand on a flat surface will also help to extract more juice. Also, it is best to drink the juice at room temperature.
The outermost part of the rind grated using zester to produce orange zest, which is tasty. It is important that you use an organic orange as this is where all the pesticides will be.
There is no orange waste because it is all biodegradable.
Here are a few recipes to get oranges into your diet:
Power Spinach Salad with mandarin oranges