For most Americans, oranges are the main dietary source of vitamin C. This fruit is the fourth most popular fruit in the United States and orange juice is by fat the most popular juice. However, the nutritional value of this delicious fruit goes far beyond just vitamin C.
Oranges are juicy citrus fruits of sweet and sour flavor. They belong to a group of citrus fruits called hesperidium. Oranges have bright orange peel and soft pulp made of carpels of numerous vesicles filled with fluid.
Oranges grow on orange trees, which are cultivated in tropical and semitropical areas. They are evergreen trees that grow from five to eight meters, bloom in the spring and its fruits are ripe in autumn or winter.
There are over 600 varieties of oranges in the world. Some of the most popular and best known are Valencia, pineapple oranges, red cara navel, amber sweet, blood oranges, jaffa, Hamlin, Seville, moro, Persian variety and Washington navel.
Nutritional value of oranges
There is much more to oranges than just being a good source of vitamin C. This fruit can be very beneficial in treating many diseases, of which most orange lovers are not even aware of.
Oranges are an excellent source of minerals, especially calcium and potassium. They contain phosphorus, citric acid, beta carotene, aldehyde and flavonoids like hesperetin and narigenin. Narigen is a bioactive compound with great antioxidant properties. It improves the immune system and has anti-inflammatory ability.
Oranges are also rich in vitamin A and in other flavonoids and antioxidants, like alpha carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanhin and lutein. Vitamin A protects the mucous membranes and the skin and it is also very important for good eye sight. Thanks to the antioxidants, oranges provide protection against free radicals and their consequences like chronic diseases and premature aging, and repair the damage to the cells.
This fruit is a good source of fiber, which is important for good gastrointestinal health, the immune system and proper absorption of nutrients. Furthermore, they are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. This makes oranges a perfect food for people who are trying to lose weight and for those who need to keep their blood pressure and cholesterol levels at bay.
In addition, oranges are rich in pectin, which protects the walls of the colon by decreasing their time of exposure to toxins. This greatly reduces the change of colon cancer.
Other important nutrients in oranges include thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, copper and magnesium. Oranges are acidic, with their pH level of 2.5-3, which makes them great detoxifiers.