This sweet citrus fruit is definitely one of the most popular fruits in the world therefore we could not wait to examine its benefits. Either eaten fresh or squeezed for it’s delicious juice, oranges contain high amounts of antioxidants.
A lot is known about this essential micronutrient, however the research is continuous. A small orange contains almost 60% of the recommended intake for an average adult female. The maximum dose of vitamin C is unknown yet for humans because excess of it is excreted in urine rapidly. There might be though some side effects like indigestion or in worst case – diarrhoea. Vitamin C is also known to enhance absorption of Iron which helps to enhance the blood haemoglobin levels but too much of it can lead to Iron poisoning. Also remember, the best sources for vitamin C are actually not oranges. 100g of blackcurrants contain 3 times more of it than same amount of orange. Although one would think that vitamin C is good for the immune system, the reason why, remains unknown. There are however plenty of other examples of how eating oranges can benefit you.
This antioxidant plays enzymatic role in various bodies’ functions. It participates in the production of hormones, formation of collagen and production of carnitine. Carnitine is a protein responsible for metabolism of fatty acids). Reduction of this protein is strongly correlated with the effects of ageing – bone mass reduction and fatty tissue increase. Vitamin C in recent animal studies has been indeed linked to preventing osteoporosis. Vitamins C and A are also beneficial for preventing dementia.
Good for our brains
Vitamin C also plays major role in our central nervous system and eyesight. Apparently a complete absence of it makes the interactions between brain and eyes impossible. The deficiency of vitamin C causes the infamous scurvy which is known to cause depression. This makes us ask questions whether this substance might play bigger role in our brains, for example, whether it can help to boost mood.
Hesperidine is a flavonoid present in the oranges. Animal studies so far have shown many benefits all of those, however, not approved in humans yet. It is able to lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as inflammation. Flavonoids in general are also known to reduce the risk of cancer for high in risk individuals like smokers (see article about grapes). Vitamin C might also have the reductive properties for blood pressure. This shows also its possible benefits in exercise. In a study people who took vitamin C before exercise showed lower heart rate then people who didn’t.
Some of us can’t imagine a meal without a glass of orange juice. It is considered to be a healthy drink. Consumers have to be aware though of the very different types of orange juice as it is easy these days to buy a sugar rich, orange flavoured water instead of freshly squeezed orange juice however, the nutritional difference is noticeable. Orange juice has also applied to fortification therefore some juices might contain additional micronutrients – vitamin D, Calcium, Iron which should be indicated on the packaging.
Freshly squeezed. You get all the natural vitamin C, no added sugars or preservatives. This juice will have the natural and strong flavour you want in order to wake up. Cons – can be messy (made at home) or expensive (buying in a café).
Not from concentrate – the juice is squeezed, pasteurized, frozen and shipped to the country where it is sold.
From concentrate – long life. Uses concentrated orange which can be easily shipped after pasteurizing and freezing. In the country where it is sold concentrated juice is made from adding water, sugar and flavourings (which according to law don’t have to be indicated on packaging).
Pasteurized are both short and long shelf life juices. In order to increase shelf life, the juice is being treated with heat. This process decreases the nutrient availability, taste and flavour. In order to return the flavour and taste, sugar may be added along with different artificial flavourings. Depending on the methods used for pasteurizing and packaging, the use by date can be decreased or increased. Pros – cheaper, convenient and might contain additional micronutrients.
Yes it is edible! Like apple peel, it contains higher amounts of fibre and vitamin C than the actual fruit itself. However, most of the oranges are imported and are subject to pesticide usage. Vitamin A action inhibitors are also present in the orange peel, therefore don’t eat the peel too much or increase you might have to watch your vitamin A intake.
Benefits of eating oranges:
- Reduce risk for cardiovascular disease
- Contribute to preventing dementia
- Good for eyes
- Reduce cancer risks
- Might prevent osteoporosis
- Enhance Iron availability from other foods
- Prevent depression
- Help your skin to be healthy
- Help control the heart rate
- Good for fat metabolism
- Might have a positive effect on immunity