Did you know?
Orange is a tropical to semitropical, evergreen, small flowering tree, growing to about 5 to 8 m tall, and bears seasonal fruits that measure about 3 inches in diameter and weigh about 100-150 g. Oranges are classified into two general categories, sweet and bitter, with the former being the type most commonly consumed. Popular sweet-varieties include Valencia, Navel, Persian variety, and blood orange. Fruits belonging to the citrus group are described as “hesperidium,” (A hesperidium is a scientific term to describe the fruit structure belonging to the citrus group. In fact, the fruit is a modified berry with tough, leathery rind. Orange peel contains many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous fluid-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells).
Health benefits of oranges
Nutrients in oranges are plentiful and diverse. The fruit is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but is rich in dietary fiber, pectin. Pectin, by its virtue as a bulk laxative, helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Pectin has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing its re-absorption in the colon by binding to bile acids in the colon.
Oranges, like other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C (provides 53.2 mg per 100 g, about 90% of DRI); Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the blood.
Orange fruit contains a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetin, naringin, and naringenin are flavonoids found in citrus fruits. Naringenin is found to have a bio-active effect on human health as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and immune system modulator. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in-vitro studies. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of oranges (navel variety) is 1819 µmol TE/100 g.
Oranges also contain very good levels of vitamin A, and other flavonoid antioxidants such as alpha and beta-carotenes, beta-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.