Oranges are the most popular among all the citrus fruits. This tangy fruit definitely impresses with its delicious juicy taste and its high concentration of vitamin C as well as other nutrients. Oranges are widely popular and account for about 70% of the world’s citrus production. Their amazing taste not only makes them a popular snack but also a major ingredient in several dishes. Even the orange peel contains volatile oil glands in pits which have several health benefits. Orange juice is widely used as a preservative as well as to impart flavor to various dishes.
Orange, or more specifically sweet orange, is a citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family which also includes pomelo, tangerine, and grapefruit. Orange tree is an evergreen tree that grows widely in tropical and subtropical climates. A typical orange is a spherical fruit weighing about 100 to 150 grams and measuring about 3 inches in diameter. They contain carpels with several fluid vessels which are specialized hair cells. Oranges are generally classified into 2 categories- sweet and bitter. The sweet varieties are more widely consumed while the bitter ones form part of other recipes. Popular varieties of sweet oranges include Persian variety, Valencia, Navel and Blood orange. Tangerines or mandarin oranges are related varieties of oranges which have loose easily peeled shin (pericarp) and sweet juicy flesh.
Orange Fruit Benefits for Health:
1. Takes Care Of Your Cardiovascular System:
Oranges are rich in potassium, an electrolyte mineral that controls the heart function. Low levels of potassium can lead to abnormal heart rhythm known as arrhythmia. Apart from this, drinking orange juice can reduce the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol which collects in your arteries and blood vessels, causing heart problems, cardiovascular issues, and interrupting the flow of healthy blood and blood oxygen flow.
2. Controls Blood Pressure:
This orange skinned fruit contains potassium in significant amounts. A vital ingredient of the human cells and body fluids, potassium helps to control heart rate and blood pressure by countering sodium actions.
3. Prevents Cancer:
The citrus limonoids present in oranges are proven to fight various types of cancers like, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon cancers. Research conducted in Japan has proved that eating mandarin oranges can reduce liver cancer due to the presence of vitamin A compounds called carotenoids. They also contain flavonoid antioxidants like beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein that provide protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
The abundant amount of vitamin C in oranges is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce oxidant injuries and improve body’s resistance against infectious agents. Vitamin C fights the harmful and pro-inflammatory free radicals present in the blood. Drinking orange juice along with a high carbohydrate or high fat meal is a good preventive measure against insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.
5. Eye Health:
Oranges are rich in vitamin A as well as various flavonoid contents along with antioxidant particles like alpha and beta carotenes, beta cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthi, and lutein that help in maintaining a healthy mucus membrane and skin of the eye as well as prevent macular degeneration.
6. Prevents Kidney Disease:
Regular consumption of orange juice prevents kidney diseases and reduces the risk of kidney stones.
7. Beneficial For Diabetics:
Diabetics are unable to absorb glucose because the beta cells in their pancreas either fail to produce insulin or are unable to respond to the production of insulin. The high content of fiber and high glycemic index of oranges make them beneficial for diabetic patients. Orange peels have a lower percentage of sugar that can bring down their blood sugar levels.
8. Improves Immunity:
A single orange provides more than 100% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. This nutrient boosts immunity by warding off diseases and infections. They are also abundant in polyphenols which protect against viral infections.
9. Prevents Stomach Ulcers:
Being a very good source of fiber, oranges can keep your stomach and intestines healthy as well as prevent ailments like stomach ulcers and constipation.
10. Beneficial In Pregnancy:
The folate or folic acid present in these juicy fruits promotes brain development and keeps the vital organs of the baby healthy. Drinking 1/3 cup of orange juice each day provides about 40 mcg of folates to expectant mothers, which is equivalent to 10% of the recommended daily value.
11. Improves Sperm Quality:
The antioxidants and vitamin C present in oranges improve the quality and motility of sperm, thus helping to maintain fertility.
12. Aids Weight Loss:
Oranges are fat and calorie free and contain a large amount of dietary fiber called pectin. Besides, it contains vital nutrients like thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium and copper. All these contents contribute to weight loss as well as boost the body with vital nutrients and vitamins.
13. Collagen Formation:
Vitamin C plays a key role in collagen formation which is the structural component of bones, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels. Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a disease characterized by easy bruising, gum bleeding, tooth loss and immense joint pain. At least 90 mg of vitamin C in a day is recommended to prevent scurvy. Thus, eating oranges is a healthy way of boosting your vitamin C intake.
Orange Fruit Benefits for Skin:
The rich presence of vitamin C along with other antioxidants makes oranges a preferable munches for glowing youthful skin. Apply it externally or just munch on a few slices – either way you are bestowed with just goodness.
14. Boosts Collagen Production:
Collagen synthesis declines with the progression of age and due to sub exposure, leading to skin damage. Eating a medium orange in a day provides enough vitamin C and citric acid to boost collagen production. This, in turn, helps in lowering the damages to your skin.
15. Anti-ageing Benefits:
Oranges contain citric acid, a key component of the alpha hydroxyl acid group that can reduce wrinkles and soften your skin. It is often used in chemical peel products to remove dead cells and make your skin look younger. Vitamin C, on the other hand, boosts the production of collagen, thus keeping your skin firm and moist. When applied topically, it hydrates your skin, thus reducing wrinkles to provide a youthful appearance.
16. Bye Bye Acne And Blackheads:
The high levels of vitamin A in oranges protects your skin from invading bacteria and viruses while vitamin C helps reduce skin swelling, thus minimizing the occurrence of pimples. Citric acid is a powerful exfoliating agent that can eliminate the dead skin cells and cleanse your pores, thus helping to prevent acne. You can prepare a face scrub from orange peels which have been dried in the sun for few days. Grind these into a fine powder. To prepare the face pack, combine ½ teaspoon of orange peel powder with 1 teaspoon yoghurt and add a few drops of lemon juice. Apply it on your face and allow it to dry. Rinse off with cold water.
17. Sun Protection:
Vitamin C and vitamin A in oranges are powerful antioxidants that can reverse sun damage, thus protecting your skin from cancer and other harmful effects. Exposure to sun results in breaking down of vitamin A in your skin, leading to skin damage. Consumption of orange can help replace this vitamin A and repair the damage while vitamin C improves the immunity of your skin against the sun, thus preventing sun damage. To get rid of sun tan, you can add some orange juice to the mixture of orange peel powder and yoghurt given above and apply it on the affected area. This will reduce sun tan and also help lighten your complexion.
18. Treatment of Oily Skin:
If you have oily skin, you can take the juice of 2 oranges and place it in ice cubes tray. Rubbing these frozen orange cubes on your face will brighten up your dull and lackluster face, while refining your pores and reducing the oiliness of your face. This is also effective in controlling acne.
Orange Fruit Benefits for Hair:
19. Prevents Hair Loss:
The vitamin C of oranges triggers the production of collagen, thereby preventing the separation of tissues of your hair. The better circulation to the scalp ensures better hair growth. Folic acid and inositol present in this orange hued fruit prevents hair loss, thus ensuring better hair.
20. Great Conditioner:
Mix equal amounts of orange juice and water, and add one spoon of honey. Apply it on your shampooed hair and allow it to stay for 5 to 10 minutes. Then wash off to get healthy, hydrated, shiny and beautiful hair.
21. Treatment of Dandruff:
The juice of orange peel for hair is effective in controlling dandruff. You can also make a pulp of this peel and apply it as a hair pack. This will cleanse the scalp and help you get rid of dandruff.
Orange Nutrition Facts
Nutritive Value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.12 g||0.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.40 g||6%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.250 mg||5%|
|Vitamin C||53.2 mg||90%|
|Vitamin A||225 IU||7.5%|
|Vitamin E||0.18 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||0 µg||0%|
How to Prepare Homemade Orange Juice?
Orange juice can be a refreshing and nutritious substitute to various processed beverages. Besides being soothing to the taste buds, it is an amazing source of vitamin C and other nutrients. Along with being a nutritious drink, orange juice can be used externally for better hair and skin. Chuck out all those commercial orange juices and prepare this delicious drink at home. There are three different ways you can prepare this drink.
1. Squeezing By Hand:
Tightly squeeze or roll the oranges firmly with the palm of your hand across the counter to soften them. Then, slice the oranges and discard the seeds. Gripping one of the orange halves tightly, you can squeeze it by hand using a plain juicer to extract the entire juice. If you want, you can scrape the orange halves with a spoon and add the pulp directly to the juice.
2. Electric Juicer:
You can also use an electric juicer to obtain your orange juice. All you need to do is peel and quarter the oranges in sections and place them in the juicer. Process them through the feed tube to get the juice.
3. Blender or Food Processor:
This is rare but orange juice can be prepared in a blender as well. Peel and cut the oranges into 1 inch chunks and remove the seeds. Place them in a blender or food processor and process continuously till they are pureed. Add some water, if it becomes dry and a sweetener to taste. Process till it is liquefied. Allow it to settle for a few minutes and then serve.
This juice can directly be served with ice. It can also be combined with other juices and ingredients like cucumber, cilantro or mint for a twist in the flavor and increase in nutrition. Orange juice is also added to several recipes to impart its distinct flavor.
Oranges for Kids:
Kids, in general, prefer cookies and pizzas over a healthy salad or a fresh fruit. However, being a great combination of sweet tart taste and nutrition, oranges have the potential to replace all sorts of sugary and processed foods which children crave for. They can be combined with other nutritious foods to make them more interesting and delicious for children. Given below are some recipes using oranges which the kids would simply love.
1. Orange Peach Smoothie:
Smoothies are definitely a healthier option for soft drinks and other processed beverages. You can combine ½ cup orange juice with ½ cup plain water, ½ cup yogurt, 1 peeled chopped peach and some water. Blend these ingredients in a blender until smooth and serve chilled.
2. Orange Ice Cream Pops:
Kids love ice cream and combining it with oranges makes it only better. You can prepare your own orange ice cream pops at home. Combine 2 cups vanilla ice cream, 6 ounces of orange juice and 1 cup cold milk. Place these ingredients in a blender and process till smooth. Pour ¼ cup into Popsicle molds or plastic cups and freeze until firm.
3. Orange Whip:
It is extremely simple to prepare orange whip. You can stir together about 11 oz. drained oranges, 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate and 8 oz. vanilla yoghurt. Fold these ingredients in the whipped topping. Place 1/3 cup of this mixture into lined muffin cups and freeze until firm.
These recipes can be used by you also. And, if you are little health conscious, then opt for the low fat variants.