How Are Oranges Good For the Health? 7 Health Benefits of Oranges You Didn’t Know Of

Apple may be the fruit that everyone associates with health betterment, but did you know oranges do not lack behind in terms of nutrition profile? With all of the antioxidants, micronutrients, and health-promoting properties, it’s reasonable to say that oranges are just as effective in keeping you healthy.

Eating oranges has been associated with so many nutritional health benefits, from reducing the risks of heart disease to fighting cancer. With the many varieties of oranges available from the most common Navel Oranges to the commonly used orange such as tangerines during Chinese Lunar New Year, you might get confused easily. But don’t worry, we will uncover everything about oranges in this article! So why exactly is orange so potent? Read on to find out more!

Table of Content

What Are Oranges

Oranges are the fruit of various citrus species in the family Rutaceae, and are nearly round with the distinctive orange exterior. The genus Citrus also contains plants that produce citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruits and limes. Oranges also have a leathery and oily rinds and edible, juicy inner flesh that adds summer-like sweetness and bitterness simultaneously to your taste buds.

Interestingly, there are three distinct groups surrounding oranges including sweet oranges, bitter or sour oranges, and mandarins.

Sweet Oranges are most commonly used for eating fresh and for juicing. Bitter or sour oranges are used for making marmalade and orange-flavored liqueurs and mandarins are used for eating fresh and whole as they are mostly seedless.

Sweet Orange Varieties

Sweet oranges have a sweet flavor that blends with acid and is round to oval in shape. Sweet oranges are divided into four distinct classes – Round oranges, Blood oranges, Navel orange, and Acid-less orange.

Bitter/Sour Orange Varieties

As the name implies, these oranges are not sweet-tasting and are not eaten fresh but instead are used for making marmalades, chutney and liqueurs due to the amount of pectin in them, making quick work of marmalades. The sour flavor of this orange is a result of its very acidic juices and the bitterness is associated with its essential oils! The best known sour oranges are Seville, Bouquet de Fleurs, and Chinotto.

Mandarin Varieties

Mandarins are a small, loose-skinned variety of common oranges, typically sweeter and less acidic than the larger oranges! Their skins are so loose that they are sometimes called zipper-skinned! There are many classes of mandarins, but most notably are the Tangerines and Clementines.

How to Select the Best Orange in Your Local Market

There’s nothing better than bringing home a bag of juicy, ripe oranges for straight consumption, juicing, and production of jams or marmalades. Here are some guidelines which you could follow to ensure you get yourself the freshest, juiciest oranges available:

Physical Appearance: Generally, the freshest and tastiest oranges will be firm, bright-colored, smooth, and thin-skinned. However, avoid oranges that are too soft, show even the smallest signs of mold or those that even have bruises. But don’t worry when you observe some slight scratches on the skin. They are often mistaken as bruises but they are actually called “wind scarring” which happens when the fruit rubs against the tree branches during windy weather!

Weight: Before you bring home the oranges you found at the fruits section, try to hold them in your hands. Are the oranges heavy? Usually, when you pick up a fresh, juicy orange, you should feel a good amount of weight in your hand, like a small tennis ball. The heaviness is a good indicator of how juicy the oranges are.

Season: Make sure to pick a variety that is in its season! Navel oranges taste freshest from midwinter to early spring. Tangerines on the other hand are best picked during the window from early November to mid-April.

Color: No matter the variety, your orange should be bright in color. Some oranges are artificially dyed to look more vibrant so be careful!

How do Oranges Taste Like in Recipe

Depending on the types of oranges you purchase, the taste would vary greatly. Let’s take one of the common oranges from sweet orange varieties, Navel oranges, for example. This pale orange with a unique feature (the navel), is juicy, tender, aromatic, and very sweet due to the low acidity it contains, which balances the level of sweetness and tanginess.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have sour oranges, such as Seville oranges! The flesh of sour oranges is very tart and bitter tasting due to the high acidity and essential oils around the peels. Because of this, sour oranges are usually not eaten fresh, but instead are used for making sauces and marmalades.

Then there are mandarins, most notably tangerines. This smaller, somewhat flattened “baby orange” is famous for being easy to peel and most often seedless. Flavors of tangerines vary, but are mostly sweet and sometimes tart. Tangerines are in fact sweeter, less sour, and stronger than oranges in general!

Favorite Orange Recipe

Orange is great and one of my all-time favorite fruits. It’s so sweet yet sometimes sour but always juicy that you could just consume them straight with no complaints! Since it stays fresh longer and packs a citrusy punch, below are some recipes to follow to bring the flavor to another level!

  • Marmalade
  • Orange Salmon with Dill and Orange Rice
  • Grilled Orange Chicken

The 7 Health Benefits of Orange

Oranges contain a good amount of fiber, Vitamin C, Folate, Thiamine, and Potassium that boast numerous health benefits, from reducing risks of heart disease to fighting cancer. In addition, they also contain some copper, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), phosphorus, and manganese.

  • High in Antioxidants
  • Fights Cancer
  • Rich in Fiber
  • Enhances Immunity
  • Improves Heart Health
  • Boosts Brain Function
  • Keeps Skin Healthy
1. High in Antioxidants

Citrus fruits in general are packed with health-promoting antioxidants. These are compounds that fight free radicals to prevent oxidative stress and chronic diseases from happening. Antioxidants are thought to prevent health complications like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

High in bioflavonoids, hesperidin and hesperetin in oranges have been shown to help neutralize free radicals, reduce inflammation and decrease oxidative damages to cells.

2. Fights Cancer

Thanks to their antioxidant content, oranges could help protect against and prevent the development of cancer.

Other research has found inverse associations between citrus fruit intake and risk of other types of cancer, including esophageal, pancreatic stomach, and prostate cancer.

3. Rich in Fiber

Oranges are a great source of fiber, meeting your daily fiber requirements. When dietary fiber enters your digestive system, it moves through the tract slowly, promoting satiety and adding bulk to the stool.

In addition, fiber also acts as a prebiotic to provide fuel for the good bacteria in your gut. Your gut microbiome is crucial to many aspects of your health and is believed to promote healthy immunity and influence the development of many types of diseases.

4. Enhances Immunity

Oranges are one of the best sources of Vitamin C, supplying you with a day’s worth in just one serving! In addition to its powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin C is also proven to improve immune function.

In addition, it is shown that getting enough Vitamin C could help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections like the common cold. It could also decrease the incidence of pneumonia and diarrhea.

5. Improves Heart Health

Adding oranges to your diet could have a positive effect on your heart health. Upping intake of citrus fruits could help improve cholesterol levels to protect against coronary heart disease.

Frequent consumption of citrus fruits can also significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. Boosts Brain Function

The bioflavonoids in oranges could help protect the brain from cognitive oxidative stress which could lead to neurodegenerative disorders like dementia or Alzheimer’s. It was found that a higher intake of citrus fruit was linked to improvements in cognitive function.

7. Keeps Skin Healthy

As a common ingredient in many skincare products, it’s no secret that orange benefits the skin in many ways. In fact, some research shows that oranges may even be able to fight and reverse skin aging thanks to their antioxidant content.

How to Handle Oranges

There are 3 main ways to cut an orange into – slices, wedges, and segments. Below is a set of instructions that you could follow to cut the oranges safely and efficiently:

Slices: Probably one of the common ways to cut an orange, to cut oranges into slices is just simply cutting the top and bottom off of the orange and then standing it on the cut bottom. This will help keep the orange standing while cutting. Now from the top, you work your way down the curve of the orange, slicing away the orange peel and pith. Once you have gone around the whole orange, you can go back and remove the remaining pith that you might have missed to get a cleaner piece. Afterward, lay the orange on its side cutting slices across the orange! Oranges are usually cut this way to be plated as part of a fruit platter!

Wedges: Most likely the most common way to cut an orange. Simply cut it down through the middle in half. Once you have two halves you’d want to cut those in half and in half once more. Now take your wedges and cut off the edge – the part of that white fibrous core. This white part is actually the center of the orange!

Segments: When cutting the oranges into segments, you’d want to do the same you would when you are cutting the oranges into slices. First slice off the top and bottom then stand the orange on the cut bottom. Using a sharp knife, cut off the pith and peel by starting at the top and following the curve all the way to the bottom. Once all of the pith is gone, locate where the segments are. You will see thin white lines. Cut at an angle in between the white lines. Cut on each side down toward the middle, leaving you with small juicy segments!

How to Store Oranges

To preserve the freshness and quality of your oranges, always store them in the refrigerator as this would slow down the deterioration process and will help maintain freshness for an extended period of time. Use a well-ventilated bag to keep the air circulating around the fruit to prevent the occurrence of mold.

You could also keep the oranges on the counter but do note that by doing so, the oranges most likely could only remain fresh for up to one week depending on how fresh they were. Just remember not to cover the oranges with plastic wrap as airflow is important to keeping the oranges fresh!

Take note – Always keep the oranges dry, regardless of in the refrigerator or on the counter as damp oranges may quickly become moldy. If they arrive damp, towel dry and air them out before storing!

Risks and Side Effects

While orange nutrition benefits are impressive, do note that the same benefits may not extend to orange juice. This is because oranges contain a good amount of fiber, which helps to slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. However, orange juice, on the other hand, provides a concentrated amount of sugar found in oranges, without any of the beneficial fiber. Commercial varieties are filled with sugar and additives, minimizing the nutritional value of orange juice.

In Conclusion

While orange nutrition benefits are pretty impressive, it’s important to remember that the same benefits may not extend to orange juice. It’s quite simple to think of replacing whole oranges with orange juice due to convenience, but it’s important to note that the whole orange contains a good amount of fiber – which helps slow absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, while commercial orange juices are pumped full of sugar and additives, bringing no nutritional value to the consumers.

Oranges are also acidic, which may aggravate heartburn and acid reflux symptoms in those who suffer from GERD. If you notice that oranges cause negative side effects like burning feeling in your chest or belching, reduce intake and see your family doctor!

All in all, oranges are a great addition to your diet. Not only are they rich in vital nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C and fiber to promote great health, they are also very tasty and juicy to eat by themselves! Hence, I can’t think of a reason not to consume them, and I think you should too!


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