Household Treasures: Oranges, benefits and uses

Oranges are among the world's most popular fruits, as they’re both tasty and nutritious. They are a good source of vitamin C, as well as several other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.For this reason, they may lower your risk of heart disease and kidney stones. Put simply, this bright citrus fruit is an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Oranges

We all know the proverb “an apple a day,” but what about an orange? Oranges are low in calories and full of nutrients, they promote clear, healthy, skin and can help to lower our risk for many diseases as part of an overall healthy and varied diet.

Oranges are among the world’s most popular fruits; they grow on orange trees (Citrus x sinensis) and belong to a large group of fruits known as citrus fruits. Their true origin is a mystery, but the cultivation of oranges is thought to have started in eastern Asia thousands of years ago. Today, they are grown in most warm regions of the world and consumed either fresh or as juice.

It is a healthy source of fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants. They have multiple health benefits.

Benefits

Human and animal studies indicate that regular consumption of oranges is beneficial for health.

Heart health

Heart disease is currently the world’s most common cause of premature death. Flavonoids — especially hesperidin — in oranges may have protective effects against heart disease.

Clinical studies in humans note that daily intake of orange juice for four weeks has a blood-thinning effect and may reduce blood pressure significantly. Fibers also seem to play a role.

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Intake of isolated fibers from citrus fruits has been shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels. Taken together, it is likely that regular consumption of oranges may help lower your risk of heart disease.

Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its vasodilation effects.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of US adults meet the daily 4700 mg recommendation. Also of note, a high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying from all causes.3

Cancer

According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, consuming bananas, oranges and orange juice in the first two years of life may reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia.

As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C, it can also help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. While an adequate vitamin C intake is necessary and very beneficial as an antioxidant, the amount necessary to consume for therapeutic purposes for cancer is more than we can consume.

One study has concluded that vitamin C from oranges could one day be harnessed to impair colorectal cancer cells, but 300-oranges worth of vitamin C would be needed. High fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

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However, in 2015, a study linked grapefruit and orange juice with a higher risk of skin cancer. Researchers found that people who consumed high amounts of whole grapefruit or orange juice were over a third more likely to develop melanoma, compared with those who consumed low amounts.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium banana provides about 3 grams of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

Skin

The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (as in an orange) or applied topically, can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin texture. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of your skin

Kidney stone prevention

Oranges are a good source of citric acid and citrates, which are believed to help prevent kidney stone formation. Potassium citrate is often prescribed to patients with kidney stones. Citrates in oranges seem to have similar effects.

Anemia prevention

Anemia is a condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin, decreasing its ability to carry oxygen. It is often caused by iron deficiency. Although it is not a good source of iron, they are an excellent source of organic acids, such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and citric acid.

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Both vitamin C and citric acid can increase your body’s absorption of iron from the digestive tract. When eaten with iron-rich food, it may help prevent anemia.

Whole oranges vs. orange juice

Orange juice is a popular drink throughout the world. One of the main differences between pure orange juice and whole oranges is that juice is much lower in fiber.

One cup (240 ml) of pure orange juice has a similar amount of natural sugar as 2 whole oranges and is much less filling. As a result, fruit juice consumption can often become excessive and may contribute to weight gain and health problems. This applies specially to juice that contains added sugar. Although quality orange juice can be healthy in moderation, whole oranges are generally a much better choice.

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Adverse effects

Oranges don’t have many known adverse effects. Some people have an orange allergy, but this is rare.

For people who experience heartburn, consumption of oranges can make symptoms worse. This is because it contain organic acids, mainly citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

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