Ever have a craving for an orange? or a clementine? or any citrus fruit for that matter? There’s a reason for it. Not only because that orange tastes delicious but because of the rich profile of nutrients it contains that feed your cells. Oranges are beneficial for health and brain chemistry. In fact, by simply smelling any citrus fruit such as orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit you can boost your energy levels and alertness.
Smelling a scent directly influences the olfactory nerve which alters our brain chemistry almost instantly, and in the case of orange it gives us a mental “be alert” boost as well as a nice energy boost. No wonder if someone starts peeling an orange in any room whether in an office at work or in the lunchroom you can smell it instantly and your mind starts scouring to find it.
Oranges do more than just uplift your mental alertness and give you a little boost in energy though, they are a therapeutic fruit with delicious flavor straight from the sunniest corners of the earth. Let’s take a closer look at the orange and discuss why you should include it in your diet more often.
Oranges are rich in vitamin C, containing 93% of your daily vitamin C intake. They also contain fiber, folate, vitamin B1, pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5), copper, potassium, magnesium and calcium. It has a rich range of vitamins and phytonutrients beneficial for health and vitality.
With whole foods, fruits and vegetables, the nutrients contained within offer the health benefits. Sometimes (often) the nutritional profile (combination of nutrients) in a specific fruit or vegetable work well together and offer a variety of benefits that an individual nutrient or two in that same plant wouldn’t offer by itself. In the case of oranges, the profile offers life and vitality to your cells and offers the following benefits:
- Oranges Prevent Cancer: Oranges are rich in limoniods which are a phytochemical that helps fight cancer. It’s been found effective in fighting skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon cancer.
- Oranges Prevent Kidney Stones & Disease: Oranges are rich in minerals and nutrients that help to prevent kidney stones and kidney disease.
- Oranges Lower Cholesterol: Oranges are rich in soluble fiber which helps to lower cholesterol! Soluble fiber also benefits the intestinal system as a whole to be healthier.
- Oranges Benefit Heart Health: Oranges are a good source of potassium. Potassium is a electrolyte mineral that is responsible for helping the heart function optimally. When potassium levels are too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia.
- Oranges Lower Overall Disease Risk: Oranges are a great source (one of the best) sources of vitamin C which helps to protect cells by neutralizing damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals contribute to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- Oranges Benefit Healthier Vision: Oranges give you healthier vision. They are rich in carotenoids which when converted to vitamin A benefit eye health.
- Oranges Help To Lower High Blood Pressure: Have high blood pressure? Try oranges! Oranges contain a flavonoid known as hesperidin which benefits as well as being a source of magnesium and potassium which help to regulate blood pressure as well.Across the board oranges are beneficial for health and well-being. They are an acidic food in nature but because of their mineral content they actually alkalize the internal pH of the body, similar to lemons. They are beneficial for skin health because of their rich profile of antioxidants and vitamin C. They are also not too rich in sugar that you need to worry. The glycemic load is reasonable and when ingested as the whole fruit the fiber helps to slowly release the sugar into the body.As far as orange juice is concerned you do get a lot of the benefits as mentioned above but the one issue I have with orange juice (or any fruit juice for that matter) is that as you drink fruit juice you’re spiking your blood sugar levels. Fruits contain a lot of fiber for a reason, to help your body slowly absorb and utilize the fruit sugars effectively. When you juice fruit and only drink the fruit juice without the fiber you’re spiking your blood sugar levels. If you do drink fruit juice (such as orange or apple juice) I recommend drinking it in small quantities.
If you juice at home and want to make fresh organic orange juice i’d recommend juicing only one orange and to pair it with leafy greens and other vegetables that help to dilute the fruit sugar even more, and I wouldn’t juice more than one orange at a time with that juice, for your blood sugar health and balance.
The lesson here? eat organic oranges whole so that you can get all the beneficial nutrients and fiber! If you juice it, dilute it!
Source: care2.com Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orange-Fruit-Pieces.jpg