When we think about the benefits of oranges, we immediately associate it with the fight against colds and flu, as we know of the high amount of vitamin C present in this fruit, which is so popular in Brazil.
According to nutritionist at Oba Hortifruiti, Lívia Nogueira, four types are preferred by Brazilians. “The most consumed oranges by the population are lime, pear, land and bay. Among the most popular ones, the orange from the land is usually the most acidic”, he explains.
With the scientific name Citrus sinensis, this fruit is one of the many that make up the group of natural citrus fruits. But in addition to boosting immunity, it also protects the skin and improves vision. For these and other benefits, it is considered a functional food.
According to an article published by the Brazilian Society of Food and Nutrition (SBAN), the fruit has properties in all its parts and therefore can be used in its entirety. For example, while the pulp and bagasse can be used in juice and orange cake, the peel makes an excellent tea.
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Benefits of orange
“All oranges have the same types of nutrients, and they can only differ in the amount of these nutrients in relation to the type of orange. They are rich in vitamins C, A, B, calcium, magnesium, potassium, among others”, explains Nogueira, a specialist in Clinical and Functional Nutrition.
1. Fights colds and flu
The first positive effect of this fruit is also the most popular, fighting diseases such as flu and colds. And as expected, Lívia Nogueira explains where this benefit comes from: “As they are a great source of vitamin C, oranges strengthen the body’s immunity”. However, they are also good remedies for those who have asthma, fevers and even to strengthen the airways.
Another way to help strengthen the body is to avoid anemia . This problem is characterized by a decrease in the size or number of blood cells, called red blood cells or white blood cells. This can occur due to several factors, the main one being iron deficiency, but lack of vitamin C can also trigger this condition.
2. Protect the skin
Also due to the presence of vitamin C , consumption of the fruit “slows down the effects of premature aging and helps in good healing”, says Nogueira. This effect occurs because the nutrient in question acts as a co-factor in the biosynthesis of collagen , a protein capable of strengthening and giving rigidity to the epidermis.
In addition, the vitamin also has an antioxidant action, blocking free radical damage in the body. For example, when the body has these molecules in excess, they end up causing oxidative stress on cells. This results in a series of damages such as the emergence of degenerative diseases and skin aging.
But since there is a large consumption of antioxidant foods , we can protect the body from the harmful action of radicals. Even contributing to the reduction of cancer risk.
3. Improves vision
Also according to the nutritionist, oranges are also rich in vitamin A, which is excellent for eye health, as it helps to prevent chronic eye diseases. This effect is even more important in childhood, as this nutrient deficiency is the main cause of preventable childhood blindness.
Not to mention the vitamin’s benefits during pregnancy, because the embryo needs this nutrient to develop, especially in the first two and three weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, it is essential in bone metabolism, in the formation of lower and posterior limbs, etc.
4. Cleanses the body
Nogueira explains that the composition of this fruit, rich in water and vitamin C, results in a detoxifying effect on the body. According to the Brazilian Table of Food Composition (TACO), the water level in 100 grams of the main types of orange (bay, earth, lime, pear and valence) varies between 85% and 89%.
This liquid helps in the excretion of toxic substances from the body, as it is essential in physiological processes, increasing urinary flow. In addition, water hydrates, helps in the transport of nutrients, helps to regulate body temperature and is necessary for the functioning of the kidneys, intestine and circulatory system.
5. Protect the heart
Vitamin C is not the only nutrient present in this fruit with antioxidant action, as there are also other compounds such as citrus flavonoids. In a study carried out by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Araraquara, São Paulo, it was possible to verify that orange juice has a vasoprotective action due to this phytonutrient.
This means that the natural drink can act as a reducer of bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and platelet aggregation. At the same time, consumption of the juice for consecutive weeks can increase the level of good cholesterol in the body, protecting heart function and preventing problems such as coronary artery disease.
6. Good for digestion
According to the nutritionist, this functional food has fiber in its composition, as well as other fruits and vegetables. For this reason, it is able to maintain a good functioning of the intestine , even preventing cancer in this region.
So, if you want good health and gastrointestinal fullness, go for fiber-rich foods. In addition to fruits, they can be found in grains such as beans and flaxseed .
Other medicinal uses
Orange is also popularly used in the treatment of other health problems, but which still require further study. Check out some common applications of the fruit:
- Menstrual flow restorer
Questions about fruit consumption
Want to adopt orange in your daily life, but don’t know how? So, check out the answers from nutritionist Lívia Nogueira about the most common questions about this fruit!
Orange is fattening?
It is true that this fruit increases appetite if consumed about two hours before meals, but it also has other nutritional properties capable of making it an ideal food to compose the diet.
“It can be consumed by anyone who wants to lose weight, yes! But, it is important that there is moderation in consumption. Be careful with the quantities and with the fruit juices too, as they carry a large amount of fruit per glass of juice”, explains the nutrition specialist.
Also according to Nogueira, orange has few calories, but it is rich in fructose, its natural sugar. “The exaggerated consumption of fructose can also lead to weight gain and changes in glucose in the body”, he adds.
How many calories do you have?
According to the nutritionist, 100 grams of Citrus sinensis has an average of 37 calories.
How many oranges can a person consume per day?
“Consumption of one orange a day is enough to obtain the necessary amounts of vitamin C”, he recommends.
Can you eat at night?
For the specialist in Clinical and Functional Nutrition, there is no specific time to consume this fruit. Therefore, it can be adopted from breakfast, through intermediate snacks and even compose supper.
Is it good to eat orange marc?
“Maybe many people don’t know, but orange pomace is excellent for helping to reduce cholesterol. The ideal is not to despise him. It is a part of oranges rich in pectin, a fiber that makes it difficult for the body to absorb fats”, highlights Nogueira.
First of all, always prefer fresh fruit. “To enjoy all the benefits of oranges, make juice with bagasse too. Peel the orange and blend in a blender. Avoid straining to use the fibers in the bagasse”, recommends the nutritionist.
She also advises that consumption be done immediately after preparation, avoiding the loss of vitamins throughout the day. However, if this is not possible, the professional recommends storing the drink in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and opting for dark bottles, to preserve the nutrients from oxidation caused by light.
Orange peel tea
It is not only the pulp that can be used in health care, the orange peels yield a tea with antioxidant action and rich in vitamin C, ideal for treating respiratory diseases. However, pay attention to the origin of the fruit, being organic, avoiding the contamination of pesticides.
“It helps to clean the body and fights water retention. It also has digestive and sedative properties, being indicated in cases of gastrointestinal problems and in cases of anxiety”, reveals the nutritionist.
To prepare this infusion, wash an orange and peel it, leaving the bagasse part in the skin. Then put a liter of water on the fire along with the outside of the fruit. Simmer for 5 minutes, strain and serve without adding sugar. If you prefer, you can drink the cold drink.
The following recipe was recommended by Lívia Nogueira and is very simple to make!
- 2 eggs
- Juice of 2 small oranges
- 4 tablespoons of skimmed milk powder
- 5 tablespoons of oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons of sweet potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soup
- Orange zest.
First, beat the eggs lightly, adding the juice of an orange and a half, and the other ingredients, except for the zest. Then, grease a medium cake pan, pour in the batter and sprinkle over the grated rinds.
Place in a preheated medium oven and bake for 20 minutes. During this time, poke holes in the cake with a toothpick to see if it’s ready. Once finished, uninform, drizzle with the rest of the juice and serve.
Is there harm or contraindication?
“Orange has no specific contraindications, except in case of allergies. However, excessive consumption can be harmful in some pathologies such as kidney disease and diabetes. It is important to have a nutritionist’s assessment in order to indicate the ideal amount of consumption for each case”, concludes Lívia Nogueira.
Furthermore, it is not only the fresh fruit that must be consumed with care. The recommendation also applies to recipes with fruit, such as cake, juice and even tea from the peel, especially for those who do not want to get fat.
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.