Oranges have almost become synonymous with healthy diets and longevity. Combining vitamin C, dietary fiber and powerful antioxidants, the orange fruit is a powerhouse against free-radicals that cause cancers, and strengthens the immune system against infections, allergies, the common cold and the flu. Below are some of the health benefits of oranges.
Vitamin C, which is abundant in oranges, has been shown to be an effective blood detoxifier. It can help decrease plaque adherence to artery walls, thus decreasing the chances of stroke. Vitamin C also lowers blood pressure, which in turn, help the cardiovascular system ward off life-threatening diseases, such as heart attacks and atherosclerosis. Orange peel and zest have also been found to lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Due to its high fiber content, oranges can help protect the gastrointestinal tract, which consists of the stomach, intestines and colon, against many medical conditions. Not only can it relieve constipation and diarrhea, it can also help treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Studies have also shown that its antioxidant properties, combined with dietary fiber, can help prevent colon cancer and decrease the risk of mouth, esophageal, and stomach cancers by 40 to 50 percent. Eating an orange a day may also help prevent the formation of stomach ulcers.
A carotenoid found in oranges has been linked to protection against lung cancer. Studies have shown that smokers who ate an orange a day have a 37 percent lower risk of lung cancer than smokers who do not consume oranges. The high level of vitamin C present in this fruit is also proven to protect the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract and lining of the lungs.
Vitamins and minerals found in oranges include:
Fortunately, there is a number of ways to incorporate this tasty fruit into your diet. Since orange juice is so readily available in the supermarket, the easiest method is to add a glass of orange juice with your breakfast, or as a refreshing drink anytime throughout the day. Look for high pulp contents when shopping for orange juice for a boost in fiber intake. Orange juice can further serve as an effective de-glazer when cooking, and is a bright addition for sauces, marinades and stews. Orange jam or marmalade is delicious on toast or on top of a yogurt parfait. The fruit, by itself, is a handy snack that can be readily eaten anytime, anywhere. Next time, you can add orange sections to your favorite salad for a juicy burst, or mix some fresh-squeezed orange juice with olive oil and a little salt and pepper for a delicious salad dressing.