Orange: properties and health benefits

Orange is one of the most consumed citrus fruits on the planet thanks to its extraordinary aroma, flavor and above all for its nutritional properties that are very beneficial for our health.

What is orange?

The orange is an acidic fruit that comes from various types of fruit trees of the citrus genus, such as the sweet orange tree (Citrus × sinensis) and the bitter orange tree (Citrus × aurantium) mainly. There are also other types of hybrid orange trees whose fruits are also oranges and which originate from regions of the East such as India, Vietnam or China.

Likewise, the common orange that we commonly find in our markets comes from the sweet orange tree (Citrus × sinensis) . In addition, this type of orange is the most cultivated and one of the most consumed citrus fruits on the planet comes from.

Oranges are mainly characterized by being foods rich in vitamin C, flavonoids and essential oils.

It is a hesperidium with a very juicy and fleshy pulp, divided into segments, like mandarin orange . Its peel is orange in color, with a more or less thick, hard and rough peel, depending on the type.

Origin of the orange

It is difficult to know for sure where the origin of these fruits is. Certain historical reference stories locate it in regions of China and Japan from where it expands to other regions with the expansion of cultures.

This fruit is introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Arab culture . On the other hand, both mandarins and Valencia oranges are the best known in Spain.

Varieties of orange

As we have already explained, oranges are mainly divided into two main types :

1. Sweet oranges

This type of oranges are the most common and that we find more easily in our markets. Within this type we find three groups:

Sanguinas

Its recommended consumption is for juice , since it has a lot of juice. It has thin and smooth skin. Its orange color with garnet touches is characteristic It is exclusive to Mediterranean regions. Within this type we can find the following varieties: Doble Fina, Entrefina and Sanguinelli.

White

They are among the most consumed. They are also used for table fruit or for juices. It is a very versatile type of fruit with excellent properties. Within this type we can find the following varieties: Valencia Late, Barberina, Comuna, Cadenera, Salustiana, Castellana and Berna. The Valencia Late variety is the one that is collected from the tree later and can last until the end of June.

Navel

They do not contain seeds so they are highly recommended for direct consumption. They have a lot of fiber and, on the contrary, they do not have much juice. Its consumption is recommended raw and fresh. Within this type we can find the following varieties: Navel Lane Late, Navelina, Washington Navel, Thomson, Newhall, Navelate and Ricalate.

2. Bitter oranges

Within this group we find the most important and well-known variety, the Sevillana. Medium in size and rough skin. As the name of its group indicates, it has a bitter taste. Sometimes it is used as a decorative element due to its bright color.

How are oranges eaten?

The best way to eat orange is raw and fresh , although the bitter variety is quite unpleasant to eat this way. For this reason, the Sevillana variety is used to prepare jams, sauces or liqueurs. In addition, it is widely used as a dressing for the preparation of foods such as olives.

The sweet orange, in addition to being raw, is used in different recipes. The skin is used in different sweet recipes, replacing the lemon zest. It is important to wash the skin well before using it. You may be able to wear a layer of wax for preservation, fungicides, or other chemicals.

We always recommend that the fruit is organic.

The segments of this fruit are used in salad recipes with different vegetables or with other types of fruits .

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It is worth noting the orange juice that, far from myths that say that it causes cavities, that it has a lot of sugar or that it makes you fat, among others, it is a way of consuming orange that has many advantages.

Among the most notable advantages is that it is a source of many nutrients in which vitamin C, folate and potassium stand out. In addition, it helps the assimilation of other nutrients, such as iron.

In addition, orange juice is an indisputable source of healthy hydration, which is why it is highly recommended for breakfast or a snack.

The orange, whole or in juice?

It is evident that orange juice is a very popular natural drink all over the world. The main difference between juice or whole fruit is the fiber it provides.

A glass of juice (240 ml approx.) Gives us the same proportion of sugar as two whole oranges . However, the fiber in the juice is much lower.

As a consequence, the excessive consumption of this type of juice can cause problems in our health. Consequently, it can contribute to weight gain and other health-related problems. Moderate consumption is always recommended and not as a substitute for whole fruit.

In addition, it is highly recommended, as shown by different studies, that children get used to consuming these fruits whole. Therefore it is much healthier than fruit juice with added sugar, which can be a real problem. [1]

In conclusion, although fresh orange juice with no added sugar can be healthy in moderation, whole oranges are generally a much better option for our health.

Orange season

The season for the oranges that we consume in Spain begins in November and can last until June, which may vary depending on the weather that year.

Each variety of oranges has its own season, so each type of orange has its own harvest month.

The orange does not ripen once harvested as it happens to other fruits. It is important that these fruits ripen on the tree and the collection time is respected so that we can consume this food in its optimal conditions.

You can check the calendar of the  fruit season  to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with  more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

Orange properties

The main characteristic that we can highlight of this fruit is that it is an excellent source of vitamin C. In addition, we can obtain other benefits for our health from these foods.

It is a food that is essential in our diet thanks to the properties that, especially in colder times, help us to strengthen our natural defenses.

Fruit rich in vitamin C

Oranges are rich in vitamin C like other fruits, among which we can highlight kiwi , grape , strawberry , persimmon or papaya , among others.

In addition, vitamin C is essential to prevent infections and to fight the flu and cold naturally. In addition, it helps the absorption of iron and other minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.

Consuming oranges in juice provides us with all the nutrients except for fiber. Although the juice is highly recommended, it is important to consume these foods with the pulp, like mandarins, so that their benefits are the most optimal.

Orange is a powerful antioxidant.

In addition, they are low in calories and carbohydrates. They provide us with natural fiber that helps us in our digestion and they are rich in potassium.

It is very important to note that orange is a source of vitamins that, apart from vitamin C like citrus fruits , provides us with beta-carotene, lutein, thiamine and folic acid. Likewise, it should be noted that this fruit is rich in flavonoids that reinforce the action of vitamin C with respect to the immune system.

This fruit also provides us with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.

Average nutritional value of 100 grams of orange

Carbohydrates 11.57 g of which 9.35 g correspond to sugars
Dietary fiber 2,4 g
Fats 0.12 g (saturated 0.015 g, monounsaturated 0.023 g, polyunsaturated 0.025 g)
Protein 0,94 g
Water 86,75 g
Vit. THE 11 micrograms (1%)
beta carotene 71 micrograms (1%)
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0,087 mg (7%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0,040 mg (3%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0,282 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid (vit. B5) 0,25 mg (5%)
White. B6 0,060 mg (5%)
Folic acid 30 micrograms (8%)
Lives. VS 53,2 mg (89%)
Vit. E 0,18 mg (1%)
Football 40 mg (4%)
Iron 0,10 mg (1%)
Magnesium 10 mg (3%)
Manganese 0,025 mg (1%)
Match 14 mg (2%)
Potassium 181 mg (4%)
Sodium 0 mg
Zinc 0,67 mg (7%)
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Orange benefits

Of course, it is a citrus fruit rich in vitamin C. However, we can also highlight beta-carotene, lutein, thiamine, folic acid, flavonoids, fiber and water. As a consequence, these fruits provide us with different benefits for our health.

Among the benefits of orange we can highlight the following:

1. Strengthen our defenses

It helps us fight virus or bacterial infections in addition to strengthening our defenses to prevent colds and flu, thanks mainly to vitamin C.

2. For radiant skin

The beta-carotenes and flavonoids contained in these foods act as antioxidants. As a consequence, it helps us against free radicals and the aging process.

3. Helps fight anemia

The decrease in red blood cells in our body can cause anemia, since the ability to transport oxygen is decreased. One cause that can cause this problem is the decrease in iron in our body.

As we have already explained, the vitamin C of the orange favors the absorption of minerals and especially iron. [2]

4. For healthy bones

This fruit is very rich in calcium, among other minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium that are very beneficial for the bones.

5. Regulates intestinal transit

Helps prevent constipation thanks to its fiber content.

6. Ideal for weight loss diets

These foods are mainly made up of carbohydrates and water. In addition, they provide us with little protein, fat and it is low in calories.

In addition, thanks to its fiber content, it is an ideal fruit for weight loss diets. [3]

7. Favorable for people with diabetes problems

Simple sugars (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) are the main carbohydrates in oranges. Therefore, they are responsible for the sweet taste of this fruit.

However, oranges have a low glycemic index (GI) that can range from 31 to 51. The glycemic index is how quickly sugar enters our circulatory system after a meal.

The low GI of oranges is a consequence of their high content of polyphenols and fiber. For this reason, it moderates the increase in blood sugar. [4]

According to some studies, the low glycemic index is linked to some health benefits. [5]

However, we always recommend moderate consumption of these foods for people with diabetes. Likewise, we always recommend consulting with a nutritionist or health professional.

8. Favorable for lowering cholesterol

Both citrus fruits and oranges, as well as their concentrate, help us not to increase cholesterol in the walls of the arteries. [6]

In addition, the intake of isolated citrus fibers has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels.

9. For a healthy heart

It is evident that heart disease is one of the main causes of morality in the world. That is why it is recommended to eat a healthy and balanced diet in fruits and vegetables. Also, do physical exercise.

Hesperidin, which is a flavonoid found in this fruit, can be beneficial as a protector against heart disease. [7]

Conclusions

They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, the orange is an essential fruit to incorporate into our diet.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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