5 All-Natural Reasons Why Oranges Should Be on Your Daily Menu
7 minute read
When people say they’re comparing apples to oranges, it’s to emphasize how different something is, but in one regard they may be very similar. While the adage is that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, it appears as if an orange a day can have the same effect.
That morning citrus does more than wake you up with a delicious treat, it gives your body powerful nutrients that you need to function at your best. Read on to discover why giving up your daily coffee for a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice might be the best way to get you going in the morning.
Health Benefits of Oranges
Just remember, eating an orange gives you a bit more fiber than a fresh squeezed one, so it is the healthier choice. If you love orange juice, it’s worth it to invest in an orange juicer that will give you a delicious glass of orange nectar that’s pure orange.
The one thing to consider is that it takes about three oranges to make a cup of fresh squeezed orange juice, that’s somewhere in the range of 150 to 250 calories, depending on the size of the orange.
Oranges Are Nutrient Rich
One of the biggest benefits of oranges is they are packed with nutrients your body craves. Each orange gives you a healthy dose of the following:
Vitamin C is what orange juice is most known for, and for good reason. A small orange has more than 50 mg of vitamin C, the recommended amount per day is 65 to 90 mg.
A lack of vitamin C in the diet can cause the disease scurvy, and a diet that includes citrus fruits has saved many. While not many people today suffer from scurvy, they still benefit from vitamin C in that it can boost your immune system, improve skin conditions, help heart health, and cholesterol.
Folate is crucial for health and fetal development during pregnancy. Getting the right amount of folate can help prevent birth defects. Folate is also important throughout life to support healthy DNA and cell division.
Potassium interestingly has a special property that lets it conduct electricity to help manage many processes in your body. In addition, potassium can be linked to a reduction in blood pressure, protection against stroke, and prevention of osteoporosis.
Magnesium is more of a powerhouse in your body than you probably realize. It’s necessary for regulating muscle and nerve function, maintaining blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and making protein.
Believe it or not, these are just a few of the essential nutrients found in one orange. They’re also filled with dietary fiber, healthy carbohydrates, protein, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin A, copper, calcium, iron, manganese, and zinc. Still not enough? Each orange has more than 170 phytochemicals and over 60 flavonoids. All of these come together to give you even more health benefits.
Antioxidants are a big topic lately because they’re so important in fighting off the damage free radicals can cause. Oxidative damage can cause chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Orange juice has been found to provide carotenoids and flavonoids in higher levels than most fruits and vegetables, which helps your body protect itself from these chronic conditions.
Boost Heart Health
Heart disease is a worldwide problem. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that one in four deaths can be attributed to heart disease. The best thing about consuming oranges regularly is that they work in a number of ways to protect your heart and support health.
♦ Long-term orange consumption may lower both total and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels
♦ Oranges and orange juice may increase HDL “good” cholesterol levels
♦ Antioxidants in oranges fight heart damage from oxidation
Hesperidin, an antioxidant in oranges, is especially useful in boosting vascular function
Acute inflammation is a normal immune system response and protective measure. The problem is that sustained inflammation or irregular immune responses can lead to the development of chronic disease.
One study looked at the anti-inflammatory properties of orange juice and found that it mediates the inflammatory response to such a degree that it could be a dietary feature for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease associated with inflammation.
If we focus on the vitamin C content in oranges, we see there’s a significant benefit for people concerned about the risk of colon cancer. Vitamin C prevents DNA mutations which can lead to cancer.
In addition, oranges contain fiber: A diet high in fiber can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
| Related: 16 Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange |
In all citrus fruits there’s a substance known as citrus limonoids, which has been shown to be effective in fighting cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach, and colon. Whether you’re eating the orange or drinking it, you’ll want these citrus limonoids on your side.
The Bottom Line
Try incorporating an orange or orange juice into your daily routine to see if you begin to notice any health benefits. One key to remember, most benefits are based on long-term consumption of oranges, so you’re not likely to see a difference in a week. Over the course of a few months, though, you might notice a change.
If you’re calorie conscious, eating oranges is a better way to get the health benefits without the extra calories, it also gives you additional fiber.
If you prefer your oranges in liquid form, it’s best to get a juicer and make your own delicious OJ fresh each day. This way you’re sure you’re not getting any extra sugar or other additives you don’t want.