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Why a good amount of oranges in your diet is beneficial to your health

Updated on March 11, 2017

Health benefits of oranges

Oranges should be one of the foods we consume on a consistent basis, as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help maintain a healthy body.

Here are some of the health benefits from them:

Oranges are known to help protect against cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. They help lower cholesterol, protect against inflammatory joint diseases, boost heart health, protect cells by neutralizing free radicals, fight against viral infections and ulcers, relieve constipation, help prevent macular degeneration, boost your immune system, regulate high blood pressure, reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, are an anti-aging agent for skin, alkalize the body, do not produce a blood sugar spike if consumed moderately, and protect against kidney stones, among other benefits.

Also of value is oranges have no sodium, fat or cholesterol.

Oranges and health

Video on many benefits of oranges

Selecting oranges to buy

When deciding on what oranges to buy, there are several factors to consider to ensure you're getting a quality fruit or bag of fruit.

The first thing to look for is a smooth skin and bright color. You don't want oranges with any type of wrinkles on them.

Next, you want to be sure the oranges are firm, but when you press gently against them with a finger, they slightly yield and spring back.

When handling one, be sure it seems to weigh more than its size seems to justify.

Finally, smell the fruit to be sure it is sweet.

Do these several things and you should get a good batch of sweet, fresh, quality oranges.

Storing oranges

If you prefer oranges at room temperature, they will usually last about a week or so. If they are refrigerated, they can last about twice that long.

You do want to keep them away from moisture because they easily mold. For that reason they should also be kept loose when stored.

If you squeeze an orange for juice, it should be refrigerated if not for immediate use.

Being picky about oranges

Potassium

One of the major benefits of an orange is the amount of potassium in them. One cup represents about 9 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

Oranges are a preventative against both heart attacks and strokes because of being high in potassium levels.

The increase of potassium in a diet is one of the most important changes a person can make to reduce the risk of heart disease, according to doctors. Combined with a decrease in sodium, it can make a big difference in the heart health of most people.

One study, when participants consumed different levels of potassium, found the risk of death from ischemic heart disease in those consuming more potassium plunged by 49 percent. The amount of potassium consumed per day was 4069 mg for those reducing risk, against those consuming approximately 1000 mg per day.

One cup of oranges has on average of 326 mgs of potassium. This is believed to help protect against atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. The recommended daily allowance for potassium is 4700 mg.

Increasing the amount of potassium in a diet has a vasodilation effect, which means it widens the blood vessels. This is one reason it helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.

A study of more than 40,000 American male health professionals over a four-year period, found they reduced the risk of stroke significantly when consuming foods rich in potassium. Other nutrients included in the diet were magnesium and cereal fiber.

Other studies have confirmed potassium helps to meaningfully reduce blood pressure.

Concerning the kidneys, when they're healthy they help regulate the correct amount of potassium retained in the body, while helping prevent kidney stones as people age.

Other benefits of increased potassium consumption are maintaining bone mineral density, retaining muscle mass, and helps muscles to contract and generate a response from nerve cells.

In general, potassium helps regulate the movement of nutrients and waste in and out of the body's cells. It also helps to maintain fluid levels where they need to be.

Fiber benefits

According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber helps people prevent or relieve constipation, maintain healthy weight, and lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Soluble fiber is found in oranges, and helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels.

Daily recommendations are for adults to consume 25 grams of fiber per day, with 8 grams of that being soluble fiber. 8 grams is what is needed to effectively lower cholesterol levels.

Quality oranges

Diabetes and oranges

Being high in fiber, oranges help to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes while improving blood sugar.

It can also help with lipids and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association considers oranges, among other citrus fruits, to be a super food for those afflicted with the disease.

Eye health and Antioxidants in Oranges

Oranges are loaded with antioxidants. Among those they are high in are Lutein (luteen) and Zeaxanthin (zeazenthin).

Studies show that These 2 nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts as people age.

Oranges are also rich in Vitamin A, which helps eyes to better absorb light, and also improves night vision.

Oranges promote eye health and lower sugar levels

Fiber and Weight loss

Soluble fiber slows down digestion of foods, resulting in a person feeling full.

Foods high in fiber normally are more filling. That's why when you eat an orange you feel full. Most people will eat less as a result. Foods high in fiber are also less energy dense than other foods, which means there are less calories in the same volume of food.

Even though oranges have a lot of natural sugar, the level of soluble fiber still helps sugar to be absorbed more, which could improve the blood sugar levels. With insoluble fiber, it could help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

One major element is the low glycemic index of 40 in oranges. Helping to lose weight of course protects against major diseases like cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Pectin

Pectin is a water soluble fiber found in oranges, and a lot of that is in the area between the peel and the fruit. That's one reason I always eat that part of the orange. I just dig my teeth in and scrape it off.

Orange pulp has a range of 0.25 to 0.76 percent of pectin.

Pectin protects the mucosa of the colon by shortening the time toxic substances are exposed there.

Pectin also lowers blood cholesterol levels by decreasing its re-absorption in the colon. It does this by binding to bile acids located in the colon.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Let's look at the most talked about vitamin in oranges - vitamin C.

An orange provides about 95.8 mg of vitamin C - 160 percent of daily recommended requirements.

One of the most studied of vitamins, a study of 100 of those studies published in Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine, found vitamin C protected against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

Study results have also shown it boosts immunity to diseases and increases longevity.

While oranges provide a good amount of vitamin C, some recommend eating other fruits with vitamin C, and a supplement of 500 daily milligrams.

Of course it's just as good or better to eat more food with vitamin C in them, but most people don't. Only about 10 to 20 percent of people consume the recommended 9 servings a day of fruits and vegetables.

Most people can safely consume 500 mg a day of Vitamin C, but if there is any concern, a physician should be consulted.

Again, it's best to consume nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, but if you don't, a supplement is a good way to boost vitamin C intake.

Along with other nutrients in oranges, vitamin C also helps stress, as it's one of the nutrients in the body most weakened by stress, according to researchers.

While vitamin C doesn't cure a cold, it definitely helps to remove some of the complications that can arise from colds or flu; including pneumonia and lung infections

A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered those with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood had 42 percent less chance of getting a stroke. It's not completely clear at this time if it's directly related to vitamin C concentrations or a combination other factors.

Vitamin C is also great for delaying the aging of skin. A group of women 4,025 women aged 40-74, were found to have less wrinkles, dryness of skin and younger skin appearance than those with less vitamin C consumption.

A variety of studies have also found Vitamin C can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, inflammation and Improve macular degeneration.

Oranges are loaded with vitamin C

Health risks

Like any food, if too much is consumed it can produce some negative side effects. That's also true with oranges.

First, because oranges contain fiber, eating too many can result in digestion problems and abdominal cramps. It can also lead to diarrhea.

Because they are acidic, eating too many can bring about heartburn. That's especially the case for those already struggling with heartburn. People suffering with acid reflux could exasperate it by eating too many oranges.

With a high vitamin C content, eating too many oranges in a day (over 2,000 mg a day in vitamin C), could trigger nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, insomnia, kidney stones, heartburn, bloating and cramps.

Anyone taking beta-blockers also have to be careful. Since they boost potassium levels, foods that add potassium to the body could result in too much potassium. This is a high risk to people that have kidney problems. That's because the potassium won't be properly removed from the body

Conclusion

Oranges are an important piece of the health puzzle, and when consumed with other fruits and vegetables, helps provide a strong defense against many diseases.

As mentioned at the beginning of the video, they not only help prevent many major diseases and minor ailments, they also doen't have any sodium, fat or cholesterol in them, helping to keep the body healthy.

Outside of those with kidney problems and using beta-blockers, there aren't too many serious risks associated with oranges if they're eaten in moderation.

With that in mind, the benefits of consuming oranges are extraordinary, and they should be a part of the diet of anyone concerned about maintaining and improving their health.

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