Who doesn’t love a delicious and juicy orange as a snack? I enjoy eating one or two oranges a day most of the year, since they’re easy to eat and provide quick energy. They also provide the following health benefits:
- Help Prevent Various Types of Cancer: Citrus is more than just a fresh, sour flavor used for livening up food and drink. The citrus limonoids common in oranges are proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer. In tests on animal and human cells, researchers proved citrus could help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
- Boosts Immune System: Citrus fruits are also a great way to keep you health in the present. That’s because they are filled withVitamin C, which you need to produce the white blood cells that destroy viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. Oranges also contain vitamin A, folate and copper, nutrients that assist Vitamin C in keeping your immune system in tip-top shape.
- Help Reduce KidneyStones: Not all citrus juices are created equal. A recent study found that orange juice, but not lemon juice, can prevent painful kidney stones from forming. The high levels of potassium found in oranges is thought to be responsible for keeping kidney stones at bay by flushing harmful free radicals out of the organs.
- Promotes Heart Health: Potassium, an electrolyte mineral, is responsible for helping the heart function well. Potassium is involved in every heart beat, as it helps the heart squeeze and send blood through the body.
- Lowers Cholesterol: Oranges do not contain any cholesterol, but they can lower the levels of cholesterol in your body. The Vitamin C in oranges is the antioxidant in oranges that contributes to their ORAC value of 2,103. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which is used to measure antioxidant levels with cardiovascular benefits. Vitamin C neutralizes the free radicals that oxidize cholesterol, which is what makes it stick to the artery walls.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: The herperidin flavanone found in oranges can lower high blood pressure. One word of warning: if you want the cardiovascular benefits of this phytonutrient, don’t juice your oranges. Herperidin is located in the white pulpy part between the inner orange flesh and the outer skin.
- Regulates Blood Sugar: Oranges may be sweet, but they’re high in fiber, which keeps blood sugar levels low. Fructose, the natural sugar found in oranges, prevents blood sugar levels from spiking after eating. Therefore, oranges are a great desert or can be added as an ingredient to an entree.
- Prevents Ulcers: Not only do oranges prevent stomach cancer, they also prevent painful ulcers from forming in your stomach. Stomach ulcers are agonizing sores that form inside your stomach and mess with the digestive process. Although they are fairly easy to eliminate, it is better to prevent them from forming in the first place.
- Good For Respiratory System: Oranges are loaded with beta-cryptoxanthin, a phytonutrient that may significantly reduce risk of lung cancer.
- Radiant Skin: The beta-carotene in oranges prevents free radicals that damage skin. So eat lots of oranges to have healthy, clean skin.
- They aid in good eye health and protect vision: Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds which are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration.
- They relieve constipation: Oranges are full of dietary fiber which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation.
- Oranges alkalize the body: Although oranges are acidic before you digest them, they contain many alkaline minerals that help to balance out the body after they are digested. In this respect, they are similar to lemons, which are one of the most alkaline foods available.
- Oranges provide smart carbs and do not cause a blood sugar spike: Oranges like all fruits have simple sugars in them, but the orange has a glycemic index of 40. Anything under 55 is considered low. This means as long as you don’t eat too many oranges at one time, they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause problems with insulin or weight gain.
Selection and Storage:
- In the northern hemisphere orange fruit season begins in October and lasts until February.
- The bigger the navel in an orange, the sweeter it will be.
- Buy fresh fruits that are firm, yet yield to gentle pressure.
- Fresh oranges have bright color, no wrinkles on the skin and feel heavy for their size.
- Avoid overly soft oranges with spots and mold.
- Oranges can be kept at room temperature for a week or so and but keep well for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Keep them loose in the fruit container and place in the cool area away from excessive moisture, as they tend to get mold easily.
- Store freshly squeezed orange juice inside the freezer compartment for later use.
- Store dried orange zest in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container away from moisture.
- Moro oranges are also called blood oranges, because the pulp is bright red.
Insecticide is sprayed over most orange crops. It is important to, at the very least, wash the oranges in cold running water before use, or even better, wash them in a fruit and vegetable rinse. Organic oranges do not have these chemicals and are best suited for zest preparation.
For those susceptible to food borne illness, you may need to avoid drinking unpasteurized or fresh-squeezed juice that could contain harmful bacteria. Try sticking to pasteurized juices.
Preparation and Serving Tips:
It is simple to eat a fresh orange anytime or anywhere. Be sure to wash them under running water to remove surface dirt and any pesticide residues.
Making fresh orange juice at home is easy and much better than commercial drinks that may contain preservatives and artificial coloring. Oranges will produce more juice when warmer, so always juice them when they are at room temperature. You can roll the orange under the palm of your hand on a flat surface to help extract more juice. Also, it is best to drink the juice at room temperature.