Oranges are the ideal fruit for general well-being and to prevent many diseases. Discover the characteristics and properties of this extraordinary citrus fruit.
Oranges are a citrus fruit rich in beneficial properties and widely consumed, especially in the winter period, when oranges are naturally in season. Botanically the orange (Citrus sinensis) is the fruit of the orange, a tree belonging to the Rutaceae family, of the genus Citrus, within which there are also other species similar to oranges such as pomelo, mandarin, cedar, lemon and grapefruit.
Oranges are among the most popular fruits in the world, grown in most of the warmer regions, whose true origin is still a mystery, it is thought that the first cultivation of oranges began in East Asia thousands of years ago.
Oranges are classified into two general categories : sweet and bitter. The most commonly consumed varieties belong to the first type, including Valencia, Navel, Tarocco and Sanguinello.
In addition to being really tasty, oranges have several interesting health properties: low in calories (only 47Kcal / 100gr), they are a source of fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate and antioxidants and can help reduce the risk of developing different pathologies.
Oranges: calories and nutritional values
Oranges are mainly composed of carbohydrates, water and are a good source of fiber. Like almost all fruits, they contain little fat, are cholesterol-free and have little protein while they are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also have a low glycemic index and are among the fruits allowed to diabetics (in moderation), so they are the ideal fruit for everyone, even for those suffering from glycemic imbalances.
Finally, the caloric intake is very low: 100 grams of oranges provide only 47 kcal. For completeness of information, the table with the nutritional values of this citrus fruit is shown below.
Nutritional values per 100g of Oranges:
- Waterfall: 86.75 g
- kcal: 47
- Proteins: 0.94 g
- Fat: 0.12 g
- of which saturated: 0.015 g
- Carbohydrates: 11.75 g
- of which sugars: 9.35 g
- Fibers: 2.4 g
- Potassium: 181 mg
- Soccer: 40 mg
- C vitamin: 53.2 mg
- Choline: 8.4 mg
- Glycemic index: 43
- Cholesterol: 0 g
What do oranges contain
As mentioned above, oranges contain various vitamins (in particular vitamin C and some B vitamins), minerals (potassium and calcium) and some antioxidant substances useful for maintaining a good state of health. Below we see an in-depth analysis of the main substances contained in oranges.
- Fiber: Oranges are a good source of fiber, especially pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. A large fruit brings about 18% of the recommended daily dose, whose benefits are an increase in the sense of satiety, an improvement in intestinal transit and a reduction in the absorption of simple sugars and fats, especially cholesterol;
- Vitamin C: also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that is very common in fruits and vegetables. A large orange is capable of providing over 100% of the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin. Vitamin C is an essential co-factor in the synthesis of proteins and hormones, contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, to the normal function of the immune system (even during and after intense physical exercise), to the formation of collagen, to metabolism energy, the function of the nervous system, the reduction of fatigue and the increase in the bioavailability of dietary iron;
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): it is essential for heart, muscle and nerve function;
- Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): Oranges are a good source of folic acid, an essential element for cell function and tissue growth. It is also useful for reducing both physical and mental fatigue and is very important for women’s health, especially during pregnancy;
- Potassium: Oranges are a good source of potassium, the essential mineral involved in blood pressure control, heart health, nerve transmission and hydro-saline exchange at the cellular level;
- Calcium: it is the most abundant mineral in our body, essential for bones, muscles and nerves;
- Hesperidin: one of the characteristic flavonoids of citrus fruits that is concentrated above all in the peel and in the albedo (the whitish inner part of the peel), associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases;
- Beta-cryptoxanthin: one of the most abundant carotenoid antioxidants present in oranges, precursor of vitamin A;
- Lycopene: carotenoid with a powerful antitumor, anti-inflammatory and protective effect for the cardiovascular system, found in high quantities in red-fleshed oranges.
Oranges: health benefits
The synergy of the elements present gives oranges useful properties to support our health on several fronts. Specifically, oranges are good for heart health, help prevent kidney stones and, thanks to the Vitamin C present, help prevent anemia (promoting iron absorption), improve the health and appearance of the skin. and strengthen the immune system.
✓ Orange for heart health
Studies have shown that regular consumption of oranges can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease which is currently the most common cause of premature death in the world.
✓ Oranges and kidney stone prevention
Oranges are a good source of citric acid and citrates, which are believed to play an important role in preventing kidney stones. This is also demonstrated by a survey, which followed over 194,000 people for eight years. The study would have shown how the consumption of tea, coffee and oranges would have a protective action against this condition.
✓ Prevention of anemia
Anemia refers to the pathological reduction of hemoglobin (Hb) below normal levels which determines a reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen and is often caused by iron deficiency. Although oranges are not rich in iron, they are an excellent source of organic acids, such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and citric acid which have the ability to increase the absorption of iron from the digestive tract. Therefore, when you have an iron-rich meal you can finish with an orange to help prevent anemia.
✓ Skin health
Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant capable of helping to fight skin damage caused by sun exposure and pollution, reduces wrinkles and improves the general structure of the skin. Furthermore, vitamin C plays an essential role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of the skin.
✓ Oranges strengthen the immune system
Drinking a freshly squeezed orange juice a day helps support the immune system. This effect is mainly due to the action of vitamin C, which protects against infections, stimulates the formation of antibodies and strengthens the immune system.
✓ Cancer prevention
According to a study, the consumption of bananas, oranges (even in juice) in the first two years of life can reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. As an excellent source of vitamin C, oranges can also help fight the formation of free radicals, which are responsible for the development of tumors. Additionally, adequate fiber intake is associated with a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
How many oranges to eat
In a healthy and balanced diet, it is generally recommended to consume at least two portions of fruit a day. In this regard, we remind you that a whole medium-sized orange corresponds to a portion, therefore, when they are in season (from November to April / May), it is possible to consume two or three oranges a day, as fresh fruit or in the form of juice.
We remind you, however, that a healthy diet is also based on the variety of foods we bring to the table, therefore it is always recommended to change the fruit we bring to the table, choosing from seasonal foods.
When it comes to when it is best to eat oranges, there is no real part of the day when it is good to eat them. Surely eating an orange (even as a juice) for breakfast can be a good idea to regularly supplement this fruit. Eaten after meals, on the other hand, can be a good strategy to fill up on vitamin C and better absorb the iron contained in food in the meal itself. Finally, eaten as a snack or snack, it will avoid falling into the temptation to consume unhealthy snacks. Let’s now see some practical tips for using oranges.
Oranges: how to use and store them
The orange season starts in October and ends in April / May; they can be stored at room temperature for about a week or up to two weeks in the fruit / vegetable compartment of the refrigerator at home.
Orange juice is a very popular drink all over the world but should be consumed immediately as exposure to oxygen causes the oxidation of its precious vitamins. Always prefer a healthy and delicious homemade juice over a packaged product, rich in preservatives and artificial colors!
Here are some tips for adding oranges to your diet:
- Oranges are a simple and complete snack, which can be eaten anywhere; just rinse them under running water to remove surface dirt and any pesticide residues and peel them;
- Orange wedges can be added to your winter salads or fruit salads; You can use oranges to make a jam;
- Orange juice can be used in your confectionery preparations as an alternative to sugar;
- Orange peel can be used as a flavoring agent in the preparation of many dishes, sweet or savory;
- The dried orange flowers and leaves can be used in the preparation of herbal tea.
Oranges: contraindications and potential negative effects
Oranges have no particular contraindications or negative effects, allergy for example is quite rare.
However, the consumption of citrus fruits and therefore also of oranges should be limited if you suffer from stomach acid and gastritis, as the organic acids present in oranges (in particular citric acid and ascorbic acid) would cause a worsening of symptoms.