Benefits of Oranges for Your Overall Health
You might love oranges for their delicious, citrusy flavor or because they are a key component in your favorite beverage or baked good. You already know you can zest the peel into a dish to add extra flavor and that orange slices are a perfect post-run snack. Maybe you’ve even tried all the different varieties of oranges, from navel oranges to Valencia oranges.
But do you really know all of the benefits of oranges for your overall health? This article will take a close look at all the benefits of oranges for your overall health and provide you with some simple, easy ways to incorporate oranges into your diet.
What Are the Health Benefits of Oranges?
Although you might think of oranges as too delicious and sweet to be healthy, there are actually numerous health benefits of oranges. This section will dive into some of the ways oranges can positively affect your health.
Oranges Are a Rich Source of Vitamin C
Of all the vitamins and minerals that come to mind when you think of oranges, vitamin C might be the most prevalent. Vitamin C is a nutrient that your body uses to make blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. It is also an integral part of your body’s natural healing process.
Vitamin C also plays an important role in preventing diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Your body does not naturally produce vitamin C, so it is important to eat foods rich in vitamin C to stay healthy—and oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants are nutrients that protect your cells from molecules that may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. These molecules are known as free radicals and are mainly produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to radiation.
Another reason vitamin C is an important part of a healthy diet is that it aids the functioning of important immune cells such as natural killer cells. Vitamin C also plays a part in apoptosis, a process where old, damaged cells die, are removed, and replaced with healthy cells.
Oranges Promote Heart Health
Several of the nutrients and compounds in oranges can promote heart health and help protect your heart from disease. Some of these nutrients include flavonoids and carotenoids. Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that also act as antioxidants. Two flavonoids in oranges are hesperidin and naringenin.
Carotenoids are the antioxidants responsible for the rich orange color of this delicious citrus fruit. Beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene are two carotenoids found in oranges. Your body can convert beta-cryptoxanthin into the active form of vitamin A which supports your immune system, promotes bone growth, and protects your eyes.
Oranges Are Water-Rich
Another benefit of oranges for your overall health is that they are a water-rich fruit. A medium-sized orange can provide a half cup of water. Given that water is necessary for every bodily function, it is incredibly important to make sure that you’re consuming enough water every day. Women need approximately 11 cups of water a day, and men need approximately 15 cups of water a day.
Although you might think all of that water needs to be consumed in fluid form, you can get up to 20% of your daily water intake from water-rich foods. When you consume enough water every day, you might feel more energized, and your metabolism may work more efficiently.
Oranges Contain Fiber
In case you need yet another reason to incorporate oranges into your daily diet, they are also a great source of dietary fiber. One medium-sized orange provides about three grams of fiber which is about 12% of the daily recommended fiber intake. Fiber can boost your digestive system, regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, make you feel full, and promote healthy, deep sleep.
More than half of the fiber in oranges is soluble fiber. Soluble fiber may help lower cholesterol levels and eliminate belly fat. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, can increase inflammation and put you at risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Fiber can also help your immune system stay healthy and strong. The good probiotic bacteria in your gut rely on dietary fiber as a fuel source. Given that fiber cannot be digested, it moves through your body to your gut where it feeds the bacteria you need to maintain a healthy bacterial equilibrium.
Oranges Can Give Your Immune System A Boost
Oranges also give your immune system a boost when you’re feeling sick or run down. Several of the nutrients and compounds found in oranges have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help you recover quicker from illness. Chronic inflammation can seriously damage your immune system, so it is important to eat anti-inflammatory foods.
Among other things, one medium orange is also rich in:
How Can I Incorporate Oranges Into My Diet?
You might now be convinced that oranges are a healthy, citrusy superfood. But maybe you’re thinking, are there any other ways to incorporate oranges into my diet than eating them whole or drinking orange juice? Thankfully, the answer is yes!
This section will provide you with an overview of a few different ways you can incorporate oranges into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Orange Tumeric Tepache
One simple way to consume more oranges is to drink beverages flavored with oranges. If that sounds like a good option for you, give orange turmeric tepache a try! Tepache is a fermented beverage made from pineapple rinds. Although tepache on its own has a delicious, subtly sweet flavor, orange turmeric tepache gives this traditional beverage a twist and boosts its nutritional value.
Orange Flavored Baked Goods
Another tasty way to incorporate orange into your diet is to use it to flavor your baked goods. When baking with oranges, it can be helpful to remember that they pair exceptionally well with cranberries.
You can try making Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread or Cranberry Orange scones. If you want to add orange to your breakfast, you can try adding orange and ricotta to your pancakes to give them an unexpectedly delicious flavor.
Orange Seasoned Meat
If you’re hoping to incorporate oranges into your dinners, you can use them to flavor your meat, poultry, and fish. Orange juice and zest make a delicious marinade for turkey, pork loin, and white fish such as tilapia.
If you add other fruits and vegetables such as apples, potatoes, or carrots to an orange roast, you’re in for a delicious, sweet treat!
Orange Dips and Dressings
You can also try adding orange to different dips and dressings to spice up your meals. Orange makes the perfect addition to mango salsa which can be served atop fish or with chips at a dinner party.
If you want to experiment with dressing, add orange juice to your vinaigrette to give your salads a citrusy punch.
Oranges are incredibly beneficial to your overall health. While most people associate oranges with vitamin C, they might not know exactly why you need vitamin C in your diet. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, an important component of your immune system, and serves several other vital functions in your body. Oranges also promote heart health and immune functioning and are a great source of water and fiber.
If you want to incorporate more oranges into your diet but aren’t sure how, try orange turmeric tepache. This delicious, refreshing drink contains orange, turmeric, and pineapple, three superfoods. You can also incorporate orange into your baked goods, meat seasonings, dips, and dressings. Regardless of how you choose to incorporate orange, don’t be afraid to experiment with this delicious citrus fruit!
Dietary intake and blood concentrations of antioxidants and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies | NIH