Oranges are a delicious fruit with a tangy flavor and an uplifting smell. They are packed with vitamins A, B and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, choline and other nutrients.
Plus, the fruit has more than 170 phytochemicals and over 60 flavonoids with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Thus, it combats diseases, provides nutrition and fights aging effects.
Most health benefits of this citrus fruit have been attributed to its high vitamin C content. Interestingly, Italian researchers found that drinking a glass of orange juice provides better protective benefits than merely taking vitamin C supplements.
However, to use orange juice effectively for your health, drink it in moderation. Excessive consumption of the juice can cause tooth decay or wear away tooth enamel due to its sugar and acidic content.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of oranges.
1. Boosts Immunity
Being a citrus fruit, oranges are loaded with vitamin C that is essential for strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C promotes the production of white blood cells that fight against viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders.
Moreover, oranges contain plenty of polyphenols that protect against viral infections. Plus, they provide vitamin A, folate and copper, all nutrients that play a crucial role in boosting immunity.
Eat a few oranges or drink a glass or two of orange juice daily to give a boost to your immune system.
2. Rejuvenates Skin
The high vitamin C content in oranges makes them an excellent fruit for clear and flawless skin. This antioxidant vitamin combats skin damage caused by exposure to sun and environmental pollution. In addition, it plays a key role in the formation of collagen, thereby improving skin elasticity and reducing wrinkles.
To derive the skin benefits of this citrus fruit, you can eat oranges, drink orange juice and also apply orange juice to your skin.
You can even use the peels of the fruit to make a face mask. The citric acid in the peels lightens and brightens the skin and also opens up clogged pores. Check out our recipe for a homemade dried orange peel face mask.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Oranges contain pectin, a soluble fiber that traps cholesterol and eliminates it from the body before it is absorbed in the bloodstream. Plus, they contain the flavonone hesperidin that has been found to lower cholesterol as well as blood pressure levels.
In fact, research indicates that the flavanones present in orange juice lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and also increase the ratio of good-to-bad cholesterol.
So, include an orange as well as a glass of fresh orange juice in your regular diet to combat cholesterol problems. Drinking two glasses of fresh orange juice daily will also help lower high blood pressure.
4. Heart Healthy
Being rich in antioxidants, folate and potassium, oranges are great for heart health. The antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, present in oranges protect the arteries from free radicals and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.
Also, oranges have phytochemicals that prevent platelets from sticking together and strengthen blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells.
Folate, or vitamin B9, processes the amino acid homocysteine in the body. High levels of homocysteine may cause a heart attack, irrespective of a person’s cholesterol levels.
Potassium is another crucial nutrient for heart health as it plays a key role in heart functions and muscle contractions. Plus, research has found that the flavonone hesperidin present in the fruit and its juice contributes to vascular protective effects.
So, eat a fresh orange or drink a glass of orange juice daily to maintain heart health.
5. Protects Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice daily can assist in reducing the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Being a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, orange juice helps reduce swelling and inflammation of the joints. Moreover, its phytonutrients zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin protect against oxidative damage that can result in inflammation.
6. Prevents Kidney Stones
The high vitamin C present in oranges is excellent for kidney health too. It helps reduce the risk of developing calcium oxalate kidney stones by increasing the level of citrate in the urine, which neutralizes acids and inhibits kidney stone formation by reducing the crystallization of uric acid and calcium oxalate.
In fact, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center suggest that drinking a glass of orange juice daily can be more effective in preventing kidney stones than other citrus fruit juices.
7. Aids Weight Loss
Oranges are an incredible superfood for weight loss. The high fiber and vitamin C content of the fruit promotes weight loss. The fiber keeps you feeling full and helps you eat less throughout the day and vitamin C converts glucose into energy and helps burn fat. Plus, oranges are a great low-calorie and fat-free source of nutrients required for a healthy body.
For best results, start your day with an orange and also drink a glass of fresh orange juice daily. Stay away from packaged fruit juices though, as many are loaded with sweeteners and preservatives.
8. Prevents Cancer
Oranges also help prevent cancer because of their antioxidant compounds, such as hesperidin and naringenin that fight free radicals.
Zeaxanthin and carotenoids, in particular, protect against different types of cancers, especially prostate cancer. The compounds called limonoids present in the fruit fight cancers of the mouth, breast, lung, skin, stomach and colon.
Parents will also want to know that a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the intake of oranges, orange juice and bananas in the first two years of life may cut the risk of developing childhood leukemia. Furthermore, orange juice contributes to chemoprevention against mammary, hepatic and colon cancers.
9. Keeps Eyes Healthy
Yellow and orange-colored fruits and vegetables are excellent for eyes as they are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A which is vital for your eyes.
In addition to beta-carotene, oranges contain other carotenoids that are converted in the body to vitamin A. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, have been shown to protect against chronic eye diseases.
Plus, the vitamin C and other antioxidants in oranges reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
10. Fights Aging
Oranges are considered a good anti-aging fruit because it contains antioxidant compounds that fight free radicals, which contribute to aging and a number of degenerative diseases.
Research suggests that vitamin C, which oranges have in abundance, is an essential antioxidant vitamin in this regard. In fact, one cup of orange juice can fulfill one-fifth of the body’s daily requirement of vitamin C.
Oranges also prevent premature aging of skin as vitamin C and beta-carotene facilitate skin repair.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
Answered by Ms. Brierley Horton, MS (RD)
What is the best time of the day to eat oranges?
There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” time of the day to eat oranges. Enjoy them with any meal, or as a snack, that you desire.
Can oranges lead to gastric problems?
Too much vitamin C, which oranges are rich in, yes, can upset your stomach.
Is it safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to consume oranges?
It is, yes.
Please share with our readers reasons why we should include oranges in our diet.
Oranges are a great source of vitamin C—a nutrient that keeps our immune system humming along, as well as keeps our skin healthy and potentially helps to ward off wrinkles. They also deliver ample fiber and potassium—two key nutrients that many of us fall short on regularly.
About Ms. Brierley Horton, M.S., R.D.: Brierley is an experienced writer and editor who strives daily for innovative ways to inspire people to be healthier. She previously served as Food & Nutrition Director for Cooking Light, a Meredith Corporation women’s lifestyle brand.
Prior to Cooking Light, Brierley was the long-time Nutrition Editor at Eating Well magazine. Brierley has also appeared on national and local broadcasts, including TODAY, Access Hollywood Live, Better TVand MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts. She holds a master’s degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and is a registered dietitian.