Health Benefits of Oranges

Who doesn’t love the thirst quenching taste of the sweet orange? Usually delicious and succulent, this round fruit is enjoyed world wide as a refreshing snack that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and all sorts of curative benefits. The sweet orange is a fruit of the Citrus Sinesnis species of the Rutaceae botanic family.  The Citrus Sinensis is not to be confused with its cousin the bitter orange, Citrus Aurantium. You may not be aware that the orange is typically a crossbreed fruit, likely a hybrid born from the pomelo, Citrus Maxima, and the mandarin, Citrus Reticulata.  In the orange family, there are quite a few varieties of this fruit. There are the Mandarin oranges with loose skin, Clementine oranges with loose skin and seedless, Tangerines (which are orange-red Mandarins), and Minneola oranges which are a cross between the tangerine and the grapefruit. There is also the blood orange that has a dark purplish and crimson colored flesh, the kumquat and several other lesser known varieties.

Originating in Southeast Asia, oranges were cultivated in China way back around 2500 BC. Somewhere between the 15th and 16th century, Italian and Portuguese merchants introduced the Orange tree to the Mediterranean, and then it made its way to the Americas. The orange is one of the most well-liked fruit consumed today and is accessible to enjoy year round.

Promotes optimal health

An orange is a powerhouse of greater than 170 special phytonutrients and more than 60 distinct flavonoids. In studies done over time, many of these components have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clot reduction properties.

The orange also contains strong anti-oxidant effects. Wikipedia describes an antioxidant as a molecule that inhibits a chemical reaction of other molecules called oxidation. Oxidation enables the transfer of electrons or hydrogen from one substance to an oxidizing agent and this produces free radicals which can damage or bring death to a cell. This oxidative stress leading to dying human cells is associated with and linked to many human diseases. Consuming fresh oranges on a regular basis will help keep your antioxidant levels at a healthy amount. The orange can be used in many salad dressing recipes, juices, sauces, or enjoyed in smoothies. Peel one now for a nutritious snack that gets more vitamins into your system.  Don’t forget to eat some of the white stuff under the peel too, (called pith) because it contains plenty of valuable bioflavonoids and other anti-cancer agents! It’s astonishing to think there is medicine in your food!

One very effective bioflavonoid that acts like medicine is called naringenin. This substance can be found in all citrus fruits as well as the tomato peel. Mike Adams of Natural News shares that studies conclude naringenin from citrus flavonoids has the ability to repair DNA damage that may lead to cancer.  A study in the Journal of Diabetes found that this bioflavonoid can fuel the liver to burn more fat and has returned obese mice to their normal weights. The research team is interested in performing clinical trial tests to learn if naringenin has the same effects on humans.

Good Source of Minerals

The make-up of an orange includes several minerals necessary for overall health and wellbeing. Our body depends on these life giving nutrients to work optimally. In 1 single orange, you will find calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Other minerals can also be found in smaller quantities.

Contains Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that is crucial for the heart, kidneys and other organs to work properly.  A low level of potassium intake is linked with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive orders and infertility. The good news is that potassium can be derived naturally from foods such as citrus fruits like the orange as well as bananas, avocados, nuts, leafy green veggies, milk and potatoes.

Contains Magnesium

This is an essential nutrient that keeps the body healthy. It is accountable for about 300 biochemical reactions in the body if not more and it helps the body absorb phosphorous.  The benefits of magnesium are endless and include proper transmission of nerve impulses, regulation of body temperature, detoxification and energy production. Magnesium is also necessary for the healthy formation of bones and teeth. Magnesium intake relieves symptoms of PMS and aids in the assimilation of calcium by the body. Some other health benefits consist of protein synthesis, boosting the bio availability of B6, and improving muscle functions. Magnesium also works to prevent a myriad of health ailments that we experience today as a society such as osteoporosis, insomnia, constipation, heart attacks, hypertension, migraines, kidney stones and gallstones. Getting some magnesium into your system will only benefit you by helping to lower the risks of these ailments. Go for it! Eat some oranges today!

Contains Calcium

Calcium is the most familiar mineral in the body but it can also be lost every day via urine and feces. The body replenishes the lost calcium easily from the diet, so eat your oranges for a good source of this nutrient.  Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones; is essential for blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve impulse transmission. The nerves and muscles of the heart also require ample calcium sources to carry out their tasks properly.

Contains Phosphorous

Calcium cannot build strong bones and tissues without the help of phosphorous. Phosphorus is an abundant mineral in the body and found mostly in the bones.  Its main function is to build strong bones and teeth, however this mineral is drawn on by almost every cell in the body protecting and strengthening the cell membranes. Phosphorous has a wide range of benefits including allowing the proper digestion of riboflavin and niacin (B vitamins), assisting in the transmission of nerve impulses, facilitating the effective excretion of wastes from the kidneys, forming proteins that aid in reproduction and providing constant energy. If you happen to feel drowsy during the day, add some phosphorous rich foods such as Oranges into your diet. It is understood by health experts that proper amounts of phosphorous intake can help boost energy levels making you more alert.

Good Source of Vitamins A & C, and Folate

The orange is a good source of vitamin A in the form of cartenoids and beta carotene. Beta carotene is a pigment in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables which is converted to vitamin A in your body. It is beneficial for your immune system since Vitamin A works hard to battle the free radicals that cause illnesses ranging from colds to even cancer. There are over 10,000 free radicals that attack your cells on a daily basis. The vitamin A fights in what can be likened to a battlefield at the cellular level allowing the skin and mucous membranes use vitamin A to stop viruses and bacteria from entering the body. Vitamin A is also effective at regulating the immune system and keeping skin infections at bay.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body protecting your skin cells from free radical damage that affects all of us because we are exposed to air pollution, ultraviolet light from the sun, first and second hand cigarette smoke and more. Vitamin C is the principal water-soluble antioxidant in the body which deactivates free radicals and prevents damage in the environments both inside and outside the cells. Free radical damage to other cellular structures and other molecules can result in excruciating inflammation. Vitamin C, strives to prevent the free radical damage that triggers the onset of inflammation and swelling. Therefore vitamin C may be associated with relief from inflammatory conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.  Regular consumption of vitamin C delays the development of hardening of the arteries and also boosts the production of two of the skin’s most important proteins, collagen and elastin.

Folate is a vitamin that is commonly known as vitamin B-12.  It plays a critical role in many of the body’s functions such as cell maintenance and repair, DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism and more. It can prevent obesity and various cancers as well as heart disease. Folate is imperative for erythrocyte (red blood cell) production which is vital for the appropriate development of an unborn child’s brain and spinal cord. Ample folate levels are required for proper brain functions at any age. Studies show that folate benefits the brain by slowing down the effects of aging.

It’s imperative to note that while eating oranges may increase your overall levels of the above nutrients, it’s not likely to cure a disease when consumed on its own. Incorporating oranges into your diet regularly will promote the outlined curative effects of the nutrients found in it by strengthening and boosting the body’s own natural defense mechanisms.

Incorporate Oranges into Your Diet with Recipes from Mimi’s Organic Corner

Because I love organic food and pursue an eco friendly lifestyle, I suggest using certified organic ingredients in all of your food recipes when available to maximize flavors and nutrition while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.

A sweet juicy orange is amazing to just peel and eat out of hand, or to create fabulous treats and deserts, but there’s more that you can do with an orange.  They add lots of flavor when used in dishes like sauces, salads, marinades or any dish for that matter.  The nice part of the orange is that both the juice and the zest can be used for varying flavors and both are loaded with nutrients.

Salmon with Grilled Broccolini and Orange Sauce

Season and sear your salmon in a pan for a few minutes. Separately, boil the juice of an orange till it has a syrupy consistency. Place the seared salon on a bed of grilled broccolini with garlic, then top with orange slices and orange syrup. Season with salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Orange and Avocado salad

You can put a Mexican twist on salad with this recipe which includes diced avocado and orange segments. A cilantro lime vinaigrette ties together all the ingredients with its tangy and tropical flavor.

Watercress and Fennel Salad with blood orange and thyme vinaigrette

Trim your watercress and toss with some shaved your fennel. Then top with a vinaigrette made from orange juice, lemon juice, thyme, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.

Rosemary-Orange Chicken

This chicken dish utilizes a glaze of marmalade, orange juice and honey for its sweet and tangy flavor. Combine orange marmalade, orange blossom honey, orange juice, chicken breasts, thighs and or wings, chopped garlic cloves, chopped fresh rosemary, black pepper, olive oil, and dry white wine. This simple recipe can be prepared in the pan or baked in the oven depending on your preference.



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