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Orange is a low-calorie citrus fruit which belongs to the family Rutaceae along with lemons and limes. Unlike limes and lemons, orange has a natural sweetness to it, making it easier to consume directly. It has an unmistakable citrus scent that is positively refreshing. Even the colour of an orange is very bright and cheerful. Oranges occupy a special and important place in the breakfast routine of many people worldwide. Oranges being a very popular fruit, come in many different varieties and all taste a little different. They have many uses in our day-to-day life activities, but the most popular is the orange juice. Apart from its breakfast and juice purpose, oranges have so many other uses.

Oranges are not so round orange-color fruit growing on a tree that reaches 10 meters high. Unripe oranges are usually green but mature oranges range in their color from orange to red-orange. Oranges grow well in the tropical climate and were first grown in South and East Asia. But now they are grown all over the world. For proper growth, they require considerable amounts of water and sunshine. The flavour of an orange depends on its variety. Some varieties of oranges have a sour flavour but most varieties are sweet. Some well-known varieties of oranges are Navel orange, Blood orange, Tangerine, Clementine, and Mandarin Orange. The skin of an orange is tough and shiny. Usually, there are ten segments in an orange, but the number can vary. Each segment of orange contains many seeds which are called "pips."

Orange is one of the healthiest fruits to be included in a diet. They are a very good source of vitamins, especially ascorbic acid or the vitamin C. Vitamin  C has many health benefits. It promotes a healthy immune system, prevents heart disease, and controls high blood pressure. Oranges also contain a significant amount of essential minerals. The saying “An orange a day keeps the body healthy” may be apt after all.

Oranges are usually peeled and eaten freshly but they can also be squeezed to obtain orange juice. The aroma of oranges is also used to produce perfume or orange essence which can be used to flavour cakes and other baked goods. 

Some basic facts about oranges:

  • Botanical name: Citrus X sinensis
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Common Name: Orange, santra in Hindi
  • Sanskrit name: नारङ्ग (Naranga)
  • Parts used: Leaves, skin, fruit, and bark
  • Native and geographical distribution: Oranges were first grown in South and East Asia. It is believed that they first originated in Southern China and parts of India. They are mainly grown in Southern United States, Mediterranean regions and Southeast Asia.
  • Interesting fact: Since a few oranges had the shape of a belly button near the bottom, they were named as navel oranges.
    In England, oranges were given as Christmas day gifts on Queen Victoria day.
  1. Orange nutrition facts
  2. Health benefits of Oranges
  3. Side effects of orange
  4. Takeaway

Oranges consist of carbohydrates like glucose, fructose and sucrose, and water. It contains very low amounts of proteins and fats. They are also very low in calorie count. Simple sugars present in the oranges are responsible for their sweet taste. Also, oranges are a good source of fibre. One large orange is claimed to contain around 18 percent of the daily recommended nutritional intake.

Based on the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 g of oranges(raw) contain the following values:

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Water 87.14 g
Energy 46 kcal
Protein 0.70 g
Fat 0.21 g
Carbohydrate 11.54 g
fibre 2.4 g
Sugars 9.14 g

 

Minerals Value per 100 g
Calcium 43 mg
Iron 0.09 mg
Magnesium 10 mg
Phosphorus 12 mg
Potassium 169 mg
Zinc 0.08 mg

 

Vitamins Value per 100 g
Vitamin B1 0.100 mg
Vitamin B2 0.040 mg
Vitamin B3 0.400 mg
Vitamin B6 0.051 mg
Vitamin B9 17 µg
Vitamin A 11 µg
Vitamin C 45 mg
Vitamin E 0.18 mg

 

Fats/Fatty acids Value per 100 g
Saturated 0.025 mg
Monounsaturated 0.039 mg
Polyunsaturated 0.042 mg

Orange for immunity

Being a citrus fruit, oranges have a good amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as the protective shield for our cells and has the ability to improve the immune system. A single orange accounts for almost 163% of the daily recommended vitamin C intake.  According to a review published in the journal “Annals of nutrition and metabolism”  vitamin C can help in reducing symptoms of respiratory tract infections and effectively deal with everyday viruses like the common cold. 

Laboratory studies claim that orange juice stimulates the macrophages (a type of immune system cell) which in turn is responsible for clearing out the infectious microbes from the body.

(Read more: Immunity enhancing foods)

Oranges for skin

Oranges are a boon to the skin as they treat various skin related ailments like blackheads, dead cells, acne, and blemishes. Oranges are the best and most plentiful source of vitamin C which is an excellent antioxidant. Regular consumption of oranges can supply this vitamin to the skin cells thus helping maintain the skin health. Not only having the fruit is beneficial for the skin but its peel can be used to make a face mask to bring a glow to the face. Orange peel paste, when applied on the face, can help fight the damages caused by the sun and pollution. It also helps to reduce wrinkles and improve the overall skin texture.

Collagen is the support system of our skin and Vitamin C is known to play a vital role in the formation of collagen. It keeps the skin young by keeping it firm and preventing sagging. The high content of citric acid helps in skin purification and improves the overall health of the skin. 

(Read more:  Antioxidant foods)

Orange for cholesterol

It is necessary to keep a check on the level of bad cholesterol to maintain the normal working of the body. Oranges are rich in pectin which is a kind of soluble fibre. This fiber picks up the excess cholesterol from the gut and eliminates it along with the stools. Additionally, it prevents the absorption of bad cholesterol into the bloodstream which otherwise would deposit in the arterial walls, leading to atherosclerosis. Furthermore, regular consumption of oranges increase the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the body. High HDL levels are very beneficial in maintaining good heart health.

(Read more: High cholesterol symptoms)

Orange for cardiovascular diseases

Oranges are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, fibre and choline. All of these are good for our heart. Potassium, being an electrolyte mineral, is very beneficial for maintaining heart health. Lack of this mineral leads to arrhythmia. Furthermore, the amount of potassium found in oranges helps in lowering blood pressure thereby protecting against strokes.

An article published in the International Research Journal of Pharmacy suggests that orange has some Polymethoxylated flavones which have hypolipidemic (reduce cholesterol) properties similar to that of some commercial drugs. Balanced cholesterol levels are very important for preventing heart diseases.

Oranges are rich in vitamin C which is an excellent antioxidant, it inhibits the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the arteries thus avoiding arterial narrowing.

(Read more: Heart disease symptoms)

Orange for diabetes

Oranges have high fibre content which is helpful in lowering the blood glucose levels. Studies suggest that oranges have a low glycemic index which means they don't have a significant impact on the sugar levels in the blood. Additionally, oranges filling and they are low in calories thus they can be safely included in the daily diet of diabetic patients. According to the American Diabetes Association, oranges have been enlisted as superfoods for people suffering from diabetes.

(Read more: Diabetes symptoms)

Orange for digestive system

Oranges help in improving the efficiency of the digestive system in multiple ways. First, it assists in the easy digestion of food by stimulating the release of digestive enzymes. Since oranges have a natural soluble fibre in it, it helps in the promotion of good bacteria which is responsible for digesting certain foods. Finally, orange peels have some insoluble fibres which adds bulk to the food and prevent constipation.

(Read more: How to improve digestion)

Orange for weight loss

Orange is an ideal food for obesity as it is low-fat, nutrient-rich and has a low glycemic index. Additionally, it is a rich source of vitamin C which has been reported to increase fat metabolism in the individuals who follow a regular diet and exercise routine. The peel of orange fruit also helps in weight loss. All that you need to do is prepare tea with the peel of orange fruit and drink it regularly. So, the next time you have an urge to have a sweet, have an orange instead. 

(Read more: Weight loss diet chart)

Oranges for cancer

Many studies have been conducted to test the anticancer property of oranges. A recent study suggests that the essential oil obtained from orange peels has a potent anticancer compound known as limonene. As per this study, limonene was very efficient in killing lung cancer and prostate cancer cells.

An article published by the American Journal of Epidemiology claimed that consuming oranges or orange juice in the first 2 years of a child’s lifespan may prove effective in reducing the risk of childhood leukemia. Leukemia is the cancer of white blood cells, which leads to the damaged immune system.

Being an excellent source of the strong antioxidant ascorbic acid or vitamin C, it also helps to combat the formation of reactive radicals known to be one of the major causes of cancer.

Orange for eyes

Oranges are a good source of vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin. All of these compounds are known to be very beneficial for the optimum health of the eyes. Studies suggest that a deficiency of lutein and zeaxanthin may be responsible for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A supports the eyes in absorbing most of the light thereby improving vision. It also helps in preventing or slowing age-related macular degeneration.

Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. According to a report published by the American Optometric Association, vitamin C helps in reducing the risk of cataracts.

Thus, regular consumption of oranges could greatly improve eye health.

(Read more: Macular degeneration symptoms)

  • Oranges are great for health, but these should be enjoyed in moderation. The high fibre content of orange can affect digestion, leading to abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea.  Excess consumption of this fruit may also lead to problems like nausea, vomiting, bloating, and headaches.
  • Oranges are relatively low in calories. But eating a lot of oranges can add up all those calories, leading to weight gain.
  • People with the reported case of acid reflux disease may experience heartburn on eating too many oranges.
  • Commercially obtained orange juice may contain added flavours and sugar which does more harm than good for the body. Thus, it is preferable that you check the label before buy packed orange juice.

Oranges could be anyone’s favorite, especially during the scorching heat of summers. Sweet and juicy oranges can be eaten as a snack in addition to a meal. Orange juice which is packed with many nutrients does not contain the fibre of a whole orange. So it is advisable to grab an orange instead as it is filled with nutrients which helps us to remain healthy.

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References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 09203, Oranges, raw, Florida. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. Parle Milind et al. Orange: Range of benefits. IRJP 2 (6) 2012, 3 (7)
  3. Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):85-94. Epub 2005 Dec 21. PMID: 16373990
  4. Humanitas University. The benefits of blood oranges on the skin. [Internet]
  5. Ramya Sree .P. NUTRITIONAL AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF ORANGE PEEL. Pharma Research Library [Internet]
  6. Dr Katrine Baghurst. The Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits . Horticultural Australia, Sydney [Internet]
  7. Zanotti Simoes Dourado GK et al. Orange juice and hesperidin promote differential innate immune response in macrophages ex vivo. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2013;83(3):162-7. PMID: 24846905
  8. Juliet M. Pullar, Anitra C. Carr, Margreet C. M. Vissers. he Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health . Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866. PMID: 28805671
  9. Gregersen S et al. Glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to orange and apple compared with white bread in non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1992 Apr;46(4):301-3. PMID: 1600928
  10. Johnston CS. Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Jun;24(3):158-65. PMID: 15930480
  11. Yang C et al. Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Essential Oil from Gannan Navel Orange Peel. Molecules. 2017 Aug 22;22(8). pii: E1391. PMID: 28829378
  12. El-Sayed M. Abdel-Aal. Dietary Sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin Carotenoids and Their Role in Eye Health . Nutrients. 2013 Apr; 5(4): 1169–1185. PMID: 23571649