As one of the fruits with the most vitamin C, it’s not surprising that the health benefits of oranges are important. Not only do oranges add a zesty taste to many of our favorite recipes, but they are also a healthy snack providing both a refreshingly sweet and tart flavor. Oranges are classified into two categories—sweet and bitter—with the sweet orange being the type most commonly consumed. In fact, oranges are also one of the most popular fruits in the entire world, and part of that is because of the many health benefits they provide.
Oranges originated in the region from southern China to Indonesia and then spread to India. They were cultivated in the Middle East sometime around the 9th century. Sweet oranges were introduced into Europe around the 15th century by various groups, including the Moors, the Portuguese, the Italian traders, and explorers who found them on their voyages to Asia and the Middle East. Christopher Columbus brought seeds to the Caribbean Islands on his second voyage to the New World in the late 15th century. Spanish explorers brought oranges to Florida in the 16th century, and Spanish missionaries brought them to California in the 18th century.
According to the Florida Citrus Harvest Calendar, oranges are in season in the USA from autumn until spring and include Navel oranges, Temple oranges, and Valencia oranges. The best juice orange in the world is the Valencia orange, accounting for more than half the production of oranges grown. Other delicious oranges include Ambersweet, Hamlin, Pineapple, and Red Navel. Specialty fruit such as tangelos, are available from November to February, and tangerines and grapefruit are available throughout the season.
Oranges are often called a “perfect food” because they contain an amazing variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that support the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Many of the healthy benefits of oranges result from the number of vitamins they contain such as high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, folate, beta carotene, lutein, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Just one orange has over 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids, of which many have anti-inflammatory properties and strong antioxidant effects. There are many, many good reasons why everyone should be eating an orange every day. For now, let’s look at the top 14 health benefits of oranges.
14 Health Benefits of Oranges
- lowers high blood pressure
- supplies 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin C
- disarms free radicals
- prevents damage in the aqueous environment both inside & outside of cells
- reduces the risk of colon cancer
- reduces the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis & arthritis
- prevents oxidation of cholesterol
- polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription meds, without side effects
- promotes a healthy immune system
- reduces the risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke & cancer
- significant protection against esophageal, oro-phayngeal/laryngeal (mouth, larynx, and pharynx) & stomach cancers
- provides 12.5% of daily fiber value
- fights against viral infections
An Orange a Day Is Good for Your Eyes
People who eat oranges on a regular basis are less likely to develop an eye condition called macular degeneration. In this study, researchers monitored the health of over 2,000 Australian adults for 15 years and found that participants who ate at least one daily serving of oranges had more than a 60% reduced risk for developing macular degeneration during the course of the study. The researchers also found that flavonoids in oranges appear to help prevent the eye disease, while flavonoids in foods such as tea, apples, and red wine did not confer the same benefits. The investigators add that even eating an orange once per week reduced the risk of macular degeneration.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2018
An Orange a Day Is Good for Your Skin
Fruits are good for your skin and hair, but the orange is an exceptional fruit as it’s ingredients can help boost your complexion! Antioxidants found in oranges fight free radicals which may slow down the production of wrinkles, and stop premature aging.
There are many skin benefits of eating one orange every day.
- Natural oils in oranges can help to moisturize your skin with the end result being softer, healthier-looking skin.
- Antioxidants found in oranges fight free radicals which can slow down the production of wrinkles and slow down premature aging.
- Oranges have a high content of citric acid which aids in skin exfoliation and helps to dry out acne, improving the overall look of your skin.
- Orange peel contains a higher amount of Vitamin C than the orange itself. Grind orange peel and use it as a body scrub for a healthy-looking glow.
- Vitamin C helps the body to form collagen and elastin which can help keep your skin looking younger and more supple.
- Oranges may also prevent skin sagging and may improve firmness.
2 large oranges
8 C mixed organic salad greens
1 C avocado, diced
¼ C slivered red onions
½ C Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe
1 C packed cilantro
½ C extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
¼ C lime juice
1/4 C orange juice
½ tsp Himalayan salt
½ tsp organic pepper
Pinch fresh minced garlic
Vinaigrette Preparation: In a high-speed blender or food processor, puree cilantro, oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper, and garlic until smooth.
Salad Preparation: Slice both ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove and discard the peel and white pith. Working over a salad bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membrane. Discard the membrane. Add greens, avocado, onion, and vinaigrette; toss thoroughly to coat. (Refrigerate the extra dressing for up to 2 days.)
The Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits – Summary Booklet. Horticulture Australia Limited, Accessed 14 February 2014.
The World’s Healthiest Foods.org
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Aptekmann NP, Cesar TB. Long-term orange juice consumption is associated with low LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in normal and moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects. Lipids Health Dis. 2013;12:119. Published 2013 Aug 6. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-119.
Sharma P. Vitamin C rich fruits can prevent heart disease. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013;28(3):213‐214. doi:10.1007/s12291-013-0351-y.