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How about 'an orange a day'?

hand choosing orange from bin

"An apple a day will keep the doctor away." So sure, apples are great, but oranges pack one hell of a nutritional punch and might be a better alternative.

With massive immune boosting properties and a laundry list of health benefits, this citrus fruit will protect you against seasonal viruses and more serious ailments.

Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Juicy and sweet, people love their oranges. They are actually the highest value fruit crop in international trade. And for good reason.

They are chock full of vitamin C, thiamin, folate, and antioxidants. Not only are they a tasty treat, but they also have many useful properties contributing to good health.

Oranges are mainly composed of carbs and water. They have a very low fat and protein content. Simple sugars like glucose are the dominant form of carbs in oranges. But despite their sugar content, this fruit has a low glycemic index, which means they only contribute to a moderate rise in blood sugar level.

Citrus fruits are a good source of fibre. Consuming a diet with an adequate fibre intake can help you maintain a healthy body weight while lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes. It will also help normalize your bowel movements, maintain bowel health, and lower your cholesterol levels. While apples have more fibre than oranges, citrus fruit still have an edge when it comes to other protective properties.

You probably already know that vitamin C is an important part of a healthy diet. Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, and it plays an important role in protecting against free radicals and preventing cell damage.

Oranges are packed with vitamin C. In fact, a single orange contains approximately 53.2 mg. It is recommended that adults consume around 60-90 mg of vitamin C per day.

In oranges, vitamin C is just one component of a matrix involving many different phytochemicals including flavanones. Although we don’t really understand exactly how these chemicals interact, the combination found in oranges has numerous health benefits.

Consuming fruits high in vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease, stroke, and cancer. It can also help with health conditions like kidney stones, anemia, ulcers, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Heart disease is currently the world’s most common cause of premature death. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that diastolic blood pressure was significantly lower in subjects after consuming orange juice for four weeks.

Researchers believe that the presence of flavonoids in oranges have protective effects against heart disease by reducing blood pressure significantly.

Oranges are a great source of citric acid and citrates, both of which are believed to prevent the formation of kidney stones. If you struggle with anemia, eating oranges can help boost your iron uptake.

While oranges are not a good source of iron in themselves, vitamin C and citric acid can increase the absorption of iron from within the digestive tract. If you eat an orange or drink a glass of orange juice while simultaneously consuming foods high in iron, you will have a better chance of absorbing the necessary nutrients.

There is also evidence that oranges can help prevent ulcers and reduce the risk of stomach cancer. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers noted that people with the highest blood levels of vitamin C had lower incidences of infection with a bacteria responsible for causing peptic ulcers. Because ulcers also correlate with an increased risk of stomach cancer, oranges also act as a preventative measure for this serious ailment.


In another study published in the same journal, researchers from the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Incidence-Norfolk discovered that participants with the highest daily intake of the carotenoids, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin, had as much as a 52% reduction in risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. These are dramatic results from something as simple as eating one orange per day.

It also goes without saying that oranges will give your immune system a much-needed boost right in time for fall, a season when viruses, flu, and the common cold run rampant.

Scientists are still conducting research on the numerous health benefits of consuming oranges. If you want to add this citrus fruit to your diet, consider these useful tips.

Like most citrus fruit, oranges don’t ripen upon harvest. When visiting your local market, make sure to select oranges that are firm, smooth, and bright in colour. The heavier the orange feels in your hand, the better.

Brown spots don’t mean that the orange is spoiled. It is actually just an indicator of a fruit grown in a very humid environment. Instead, make sure to avoid oranges that are too soft to the touch.

Winter is the peak season for oranges. Store them at room temperature in a fruit bowl to make them tempting to eat.

Oranges are the perfect post-workout snack. Their water content will help to re-hydrate you, while a healthy dose of carbs and potassium will serve to restore energy.

Remember that a lot of the nutritional content in an orange is found in the peel. About 3.5 ounces of orange peel provides 136 mg of vitamin C while the flesh contains less.

You can grate an orange and use the zest in your cooking or eat the orange peels directly. But if you choose to go this route, remember to buy organic! Non-organic orange peels can be covered in chemicals and difficult to digest.

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