Whether you wake up and pour yourself a glass of orange juice in the morning or you grab an orange for a snack, you’re doing something good for your health. Oranges are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, they’re quite portable making them easy to take along and enjoy anywhere.
But have you ever stopped to think about oranges? Where do they come from? What kinds of oranges are there? Exactly how good are they for your health? Well, wonder no more! Keep reading and you’ll soon see all the good that can come for your wellness by choosing oranges.
What Are Oranges?
Oranges are citrus fruit, one that is well-known for having loads of vitamin C. But that’s not the only thing that makes oranges a great choice for fruit. Oranges grow on trees and have an orange rind that you peel away. They can be enjoyed on their own, made into juice or marmalade, and added to everything from entrees and salads to desserts.
Types of Oranges
Believe it or not, there are 600 different varieties of orange growing around the world. At your supermarket or local farmer’s market, you may notice an array of different types of oranges to choose from.
Among the most popular are Valencia oranges. These are some of the best for making orange juice. They’re juicy and tend to have very few seeds. Navel oranges are another orange variety that is good for juicing. They tend to be sweet and are seedless.
If you prefer smaller oranges, you may like satsuma oranges because they’re easy to peel and have no seeds. Clementines are also small, sweet, and seedless, though they have a short growing season which means they’re not always easy to find. Blood oranges, mandarins, Cara Cara, and bergamot are more of the familiar orange names you may recognize while browsing your produce section.
Interesting Facts About Oranges
Want to know more about oranges? Here are some fascinating facts about this refreshing and uplifting fruit!
- Oranges can be traced back to Southeast Asia around 4000 BC. From there, they were spread to India.
- And oranges aren’t a wild creation. They’re a blend of the pomelo, which is often called the Chinese grapefruit, and tangerines.
- Orange trees can grow to about 30 to 33 feet in height. They are evergreen trees that also grow flowers, orange blossoms, which smell heavenly.
- Ponce de Leon, the famed Spanish explorer, is credited with bringing oranges to Florida back in the 16th century. Missionaries from Spain were responsible for bringing them to California later on in the 18th century.
- Believe it or not, oranges are somewhat like berries as they hold volatile oil glands in the pits.
Nutrition in Oranges
Oranges are very nutritious fruits. If you eat a medium-sized orange weighing in at about 131 grams, you’ll get 237 milligrams of potassium, 1.23 grams of protein, 12.2 grams of sugar, less than a gram of fat, 15.4 grams of carbs, and only 61.6 calories, making it a great snack.
And that’s not all! Oranges give you many essential vitamins and minerals that fit the daily requirements you need for good health. Vitamin C is the most well-known asset that oranges have. But what’s lesser-known is that they contain choline and zeaxanthin.
What’s choline? It helps you sleep, coordinate muscle movement, and helps your mind with learning and memory. It assists with nerve impulses, reduces inflammation, and helps absorb fat.
As for zeaxanthin, it’s a kind of carotenoid which is a kind of antioxidant. It’s great for reducing inflammation, and a study from 2019 found it can benefit your health for the heart, eyes, skin, and liver too.
Since they’re so nutritious, you might want to stock up on more oranges in your home. But they do have a lot more health benefits in store for you, as you’ll soon read below!
7 Health benefits of oranges
From nutrition to other health benefits, here’s how eating more oranges can help you live a better life.
1. They have tons of vitamins
Citrus fruits, particularly oranges, are brimming with vitamin C. And the more vitamin C you have, the better off your immunity will be. It also helps make your skin look amazing with a smooth and bouncy appearance.
Other vitamins and minerals you’ll get from oranges are B vitamins, magnesium, copper, potassium, and phosphorous. The plant compounds they contain help tame inflammation too. In fact, there are over 60 different types of carotenoids, flavonoids, and essential oils in oranges that provide extensive health benefits.
2. Oranges give you fiber
In one cup of orange segments, you get 4 grams of fiber, making it a great fruit to keep you feeling full and sustained. Each day, you should be eating enough fiber, but sadly, most people aren’t getting enough of it.
Fitness experts and dieticians are always encouraging more fiber in the diet because it helps you lose weight by sustaining your appetite. The kind of fiber oranges have is soluble fiber. This type has been shown to lower cholesterol. Fiber also helps your digestive health hum right along, giving that good gut bacteria what it needs to thrive.
3. Eat oranges without worrying about calories
Oranges, as well as other citrus fruits, are well-known for being low in calories. As mentioned above, one medium-sized orange has 61.6 calories. A study from 2015 that analyzed oranges and other citrus fruits showed that they were associated with weight loss.
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4. Prevent kidney stones
If you’ve ever had kidney stones, you know how painful they can be. And if you’ve never suffered from kidney stones, chances are, you know someone that has and want to avoid it at all costs.
These mineral crystals form when your urine becomes overly concentrated. Some kidney stones are caused by having low levels of citrate. But thanks to oranges, you can raise the citrate levels in your urine and thus lower your risk for them or prevent them altogether.
Kidney stones are more common for those that do not consume oranges, either as a fruit or in juice form. So grab some oranges and prevent yourself from enduring a world of hurt.
5. Keep cancer away
A number of studies have found a link between oranges and reducing cancer risk. Oranges, as well as other citrus fruits, contain plant compounds like flavonoids. These are great for providing an extra measure of protection from cancer. Flavonoids act as antioxidants to block certain gene expressions from degenerative kinds of diseases to cancer. They may even make carcinogens inactive. If you’re worried about cancer or it runs in your family, it can’t hurt to have more oranges each day.
6. Promote your heart health
Your heart keeps you going so you want to keep it healthy. With oranges, you have an extra helping hand. A study from Japan found that those who ate more oranges and citrus had lower rates for both heart disease and stroke.
There are compounds in oranges that can improve the markers for heart health like flavonoids and soluble fiber. They may also be responsible for improving cholesterol by raising HDL (the good cholesterol) and lowering LDL (the bad one) as well as triglycerides.
7. Help brain health
Flavonoids found in oranges are helpful for preventing degenerative diseases, as mentioned above. Since these diseases are brought on by inflammation, it makes sense that eating more of the things that are anti-inflammatory like oranges would help.
Even in the form of juice, oranges can come to the rescue for your health. Studies have shown that orange juice may be responsible for boosting brain health and function.
Which is Better: Eating A Whole Orange or Drinking Orange Juice?
All things considered, eating a whole orange is probably the best choice. As a whole, the orange has all that fiber and is quite filling. You won’t feel full from just drinking the juice.
If you squeeze your own orange juice, it can be healthy in moderation. However, if you buy orange juice ready-made, you should read the labels to make sure you’re purchasing truly fresh orange juice. You don’t want to drink down added sugars or anything artificial. That defeats the purpose of choosing oranges for your healthy lifestyle.
There’s nothing wrong with mixing it up though. Choose an orange to take as a snack to the office or pack for your kids in their lunch. It’s easy to take along anywhere. If you buy a large number of oranges, you can make good use of them by using a juicer to squeeze out all that healthy juice. Just be aware that a full orange is a better choice if you need a snack or a healthy dessert.
Do oranges have any adverse effects on health?
While eating more oranges is a great way to help your health stay on track, you shouldn’t eat all oranges all the time. The reason is that they can bring some unpleasant side effects.
Fiber is great for your digestive and immune health, but too much can lead to cramping and diarrhea. For this reason, you should aim to eat no more than 2 oranges per day.
Additionally, the calorie content of oranges will catch up with you if you eat too many of them. But the worst by far is having too much vitamin C. Yes, there is such a thing! Having more than the recommended 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day can also cause diarrhea. And it can lead to bloating, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and headaches too.
Oranges are highly acidic too, so if you have heartburn or GERD, you may make your symptoms worse if you eat too many of them. For those on beta-blockers for high blood pressure, speak to your doctor about consuming oranges and other fruits with lots of potassium (like bananas for example). It can lead to too much potassium in your body which can cause trouble for your kidneys, especially if you already have problems.
How can you incorporate more oranges into your diet? 9 tips to eat more oranges!
The simplest way to eating more oranges in your diet is by picking them up from your supermarket or local farmer’s market, peeling them, and enjoying. But even with the best things, you might grow tired of eating an orange as-is every day. These 9 tips will help you get enough orange in your diet.
1. Make it a dessert
Peel your oranges and separate them into segments. Then add them together with other fruits of your choosing on top of low-fat yogurt. Shredded coconut makes a great garnish for this that will create a healthy dessert you’ll actually want to eat.
2. Turn it into salsa to pair with your meal
The next time you make grilled fish or chicken, make an orange salsa for a unique twist that adds tons of flavor. Chop up peeled oranges with tomato, cilantro, green onion, lime juice, and a little orange zest. The sweet and savory pairing will make your meal pop!
3. Add them to oatmeal
Why do bananas and berries get all the love for breakfast toppings? Add orange slices to your oatmeal for a refreshingly tropical burst.
4. Use it for Asian fusion
Instead of settling for that heavy, fried version of orange chicken from your local Chinese takeout place, make a healthier creation through the same inspiration. Sauté slices of chicken breast with bell peppers, onions, garlic, and ginger.
Add a sauce of lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil, then add chopped pieces of orange to the mix. Wrap it up in lettuce leaves for a satisfying meal.
5. Go for fun fruit kabobs
Whether you’re having a gathering or just want a healthy and refreshing snack or dessert, grab some wooden kabob sticks and pierce fruit upon them. Orange wedges go great with cantaloupe chunks, strawberries, bananas, grapes, and pineapple. You can keep them as-is or dip them in yogurt if you’d like.
6. Juice it
While eating a whole orange is better, making juice out of oranges you can’t finish off quickly enough is a great solution. Enjoy it with breakfast!
7. Or turn it into an orange lemonade
Make your lemonade more refreshingly unique with freshly-squeezed oranges and lemons, purified water, and sugar, or your preferred sweetener to taste. Garnish it with slices of oranges and lemons and put it in a pretty pitcher. It will look great for any backyard BBQ.
8. Put oranges on your salad
Mandarin oranges in particular are ideal for salads because their segments are smaller but use your favorite orange variety. Add it to a bed of field greens along with walnuts and strawberries for a summery salad you’ll love.
9. Freeze them into popsicles
Orange popsicles are beyond refreshing. If you combine orange gelatin with your freshly-squeezed orange juice and water and then add them to popsicle molds, all you have to do is patiently wait for them to freeze. You can also create different flavors by using a different flavor of gelatin. If you have kids, let them help and see what you can come up with!
Enjoy these orange juice recipes!
Want to make orange juice but don’t know how? These 2 recipes will help you get started. It’s fresher and cheaper to make your own orange juice anyway.
Simple orange juice
Here’s the simplest way to make fresh orange juice.
You’ll need 4 oranges. Valencia or navel oranges are the best ones to juice if you can get them.
Smack each orange light on the counter and then cut them each in half.
Squeeze them into your awaiting glass directly or use a hand juicer with a strainer if you’d prefer less pulp in your orange juice.
Ginger-infused orange juice
Use this recipe to impress guests for breakfast, brunch, or a backyard gathering.
You’ll want to choose 8 to 10 large oranges. Again, Valencia or navel will juice best.
Squeeze the juices from the first much like in the simple orange juice recipe.
Add it to your blender with a piece of ginger (about an inch in size), one tablespoon of raw organic honey, 6 to 8 mint leaves, and 1/8-teaspoon of pink Himalayan sea salt, and blend together.
Garnish with more mint leaves before serving.
Essential storage tips for oranges
Oranges will do fine at room temperature for a few days. You can certainly put them in your favorite fruit bowl. But the best way to keep oranges at their peak is by putting them in the fridge. Your vegetable drawer is ideal as it will keep well for a few weeks.
Never keep oranges in plastic bags or airtight containers. These types of vessels will just make them get soft or moldy. Mesh bags are fine though. If you choose to keep them in a mesh bag, make sure you check your orange stash regularly and use the ones that are starting to soften up first.
For juicing your oranges it’s recommended that you let them sit on the counter first. By bringing them to room temperature, you will be able to squeeze the most juice from them. Anything you can’t use fast enough can also be zested and juiced, then frozen. It will keep well in your freezer.
Having fresh orange juice stored in the freezer means you can enjoy your orange harvest any time. You can also easily add it to the things you cook from sauces to marinades to make uniquely flavorful and healthy meals.
FAQS about oranges and orange juice
Got more questions about oranges? Here are some of the most common ones answered!
– What’s the best way to keep orange juice stored?
When you make fresh orange juice yourself, it’s best to enjoy it as soon as possible. If you can’t finish all of it though, it will be fine in your refrigerator. You’ll want to put it in a glass carafe or a mason jar with a lid. Use it up within 2 to 3 days.
– Are oranges alkaline?
Orange juice and oranges are naturally acidic. So it does turn from acid to alkaline in the body. Anyone on an alkaline diet can enjoy it as long as they do so in moderation. Oranges and orange juice do not cause acid production in the body.
– What is the pH of oranges?
Oranges, and likewise orange juice, can have a pH anywhere from 3.3 on up to 4.2.
– How do I freeze orange juice?
Orange juice freezes so well that you won’t have to worry if you squeeze more juice than you can drink in 2 or 3 days. Make sure you use a proper airtight and freezer-safe container. You can also put it into ice cube trays. Once the cubes of juice freeze, dump them into a freezer bag and you can use it to add to smoothies. If you want to convert it back into the juice, simply let it thaw in your fridge.
As you can see, oranges are a healthy fruit. By adding them to your diet, you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle. You can eat them just the way they are, make them into juice, or use them in your meals in so many ways.
No matter how you enjoy them, you will reap the benefits of all those vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds. However, eating more oranges than necessary for the day may give you some tummy troubles as you’ll consume too much vitamin C.
Balance is the key with anything and by adding an orange each day, you’ll be maintaining a healthy balance that will work with your fit lifestyle.