The Health Benefits of Oranges

April 1, 2008


Brief History of Oranges

Oranges are classified into sweet and bitter categories, and popular sweet varieties are Valencia, navel, Jaffa and the hybrid blood orange. The bitter oranges are utilized in jams, marmalades, preserves, and liqueurs such as Cointreau.

Oranges are indigenous to China and the south Asian subcontinent, and were first cultivated in the Middle East around the 9th century, and it was Christopher Columbus who introduced orange seeds to North America in the 16th century.

The word orange comes from an old Sanskrit word nagarunga, which means “fruit beloved by elephants”. Later on, the word became narandj in Arabic, and then naranja via the Moorish conquests in Spain.

The first recorded use of the word in the form orange is in a Middle English text from somewhere around 1380. Today Brazil is the world’s largest producer of oranges, and in the United States oranges are the biggest fruit crop.

Nutrients in Oranges

Oranges are an excellent source of flavonoids and vitamin C. They are a very good source of dietary fiber. They are a good source of B vi­tamins (including vitamins Bl, B2, and B6, folic acid, and pan­tothenic acid), carotenes, pectin, potassium, and folic acid.

Orange, raw, Florida Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 192 kJ (46 kcal)
* Carbohydrates 11.54 g
Dietary fiber 2.4 g
* Fat 0.21 g
* Protein 0.70 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.100 mg
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.040 mg
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.400 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.250 mg
* Vitamin B6 0.051 mg
* Folate (Vit. B9) 17 ?g
* Vitamin C 45 mg
* Calcium 43 mg
* Iron 0.09 mg
* Magnesium 10 mg
Phosphorus 12 mg
Potassium 169 mg
Zinc 0.08 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.

Oranges for Cholesterol Reduction

One of the most important flavonoids in oranges is hesperidin. Hesperidin and the pectin in oranges have been shown to lower cholesterol. The concentration of hesperidin is considerably higher in the inner peel and inner white pulp of the orange, rather than in its orange flesh. Oranges are high in pectin, which appears to slow the body’s absorption of fats and lower cholesterol levels. There are currently two theories about how this happens. The first is that the pectins dissolve into a gel that sops up fats in your stomach so that your body cannot absorb them. The second is that bacteria in the gut digest the fiber and then produce short chain fatty acids that slow down the liver’s natural production of cholesterol.

Oranges for Arthritis Prevention

In a study at the Arthritis Research Campaign Epidemiology Unit in the United Kingdom, results suggested that a modest increase in beta-cryptoxanthin (antioxidant found in oranges) intake, equivalent to one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice per day, is associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Oranges for Kidney Stone Prevention

In a preliminary study involving nine healthy and four participants with kidney stones, it was suggested that orange juice consumption might be more effective than other citrus juices in the prevention of kidney stones. Further studies are needed to evaluate these results.

Oranges for Cancer Prevention

According to the American Cancer Society, a diet high in foods rich in antioxidant vitamin C may reduce your risk of some cancers, such as cancer of the respiratory tract.

The flavonoids naringenin and hesperedin exhibit estrogenic, anticarcinogenic and antioxidative properties. Orange juice contains high amounts of these compounds, and research data suggests that these two flavonoids may be able to inhibit the development of cancer.

D-limonene is an aromatic compound found in the essential oils of oranges and other citrus fruits, and studies have shown that d-limonene to be effective in the prevention of gastric and liver cancer.

Recent studies indicate that beta-cryptoxanthin may be a promising chemopreventive agent against lung cancer.

Glycemic Index of Oranges

In a study to determine the glycemic index (GI) of various fruits, it was concluded that oranges have a low GI of 42.

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  1. kevin

    December 1, 2011 at 9:22 am

    i like it. thank you

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