As most of us might know, the orange is most well known for its high content of Vitamin C (60mg per 100g of edible fruit). This high Vitamin C content helps boost the immune system, supports collagen and benefits those with weak gums and teeth. Vitamin C also aids iron digestion. It is therefore a good idea when consuming foods high in iron, to have a food rich in Vit C either in combination or straight after.
Oranges also contain carotenoids, bioflavonoid – antioxidants which all fight cancer and may help protect against heart disease. Oranges are a good source of the crucial B-vitamin folate, which is essential in preventing birth defects and fighting heart disease. Oranges, as well as other fruits, contain a water-soluble fiber called pectin. Studies show that pectin helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. This may explain why individuals who eat several servings daily of fruits, such as oranges, and vegetables have a lower risk for heart disease
Health benefits of oranges
Nutrients in oranges are plentiful and diverse. The fruit is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but is rich in dietary fiber, pectin, which is very effective in persons with excess body weight. Pectin, by its action as bulk laxative, helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon. Pectin has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing its re-absorption in the colon by binding to bile acids in the colon.
Oranges, like other citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C (provides about 60% of DRI); Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and also, scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the blood.
Orange fruit contains a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetin and Narigenin are flavonoids found in citrus fruits. Naringenin is found to have a bio-active effect on human health as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and immune system modulator. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in vitro studies.
Oranges also contain very good levels of vitamin A, and other flavonoid antioxidants such as alpha andbetacarotenes, betacryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Orange fruit also contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Citrus fruits, as such, have long been valued for their wholesome nutritious and antioxidant properties. It is scientifically established that citrus fruits, especially oranges, by virtue of their richness in vitamins and minerals, have many proven health benefits. Moreover, it is now beginning to be appreciated that the other biologically active, non-nutrient compounds found in citrus fruits such as phyto-chemical antioxidants,soluble and insoluble dietary fiberhave been found to be helpful in reduction in the risk for cancers, many chronic diseases like arthritis, and from obesity and coronary heart diseases.