Oranges are rich in fiber, folic acid, limonene, potassium, pectin, and polyphenols.
This fruit adds sweetness, tanginess, and freshness to any dish. Oranges can be used to prepare fresh juice, jellies, candies, cakes, muffins and used in combination with fish or chicken. This citrus fruit is well known for its high source of vitamin C, but this vitamin is just one of the health benefits an orange can offer. An orange contains vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, potassium, pectin and polyphenols. All of these components in an orange make it a health promoting fruit.
Vitamin C and Orange Juice
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. The body needs a constant replenishment from dietary sources to maintain a healthy level of vitamin C in the body. Orange juice is one of the main sources, but frozen or store-bought orange juice contains less healthy nutrients. Orange juice begins to lose its nutrients from the moment it is squeezed. This is why it is important to add the juice of one lemon to bought orange juice or drink fresh squeezed orange juice. Squeezing your own orange juice gives full citrus nutrients to your body, less the sugar or corn syrup from store bought juice.
Citrus Polyphenols Benefits
Polyphenols in oranges gives this fruit their antioxidant power. The special kind of antioxidant found in oranges has been linked to help fight and prevent cardiovascular disorders. Steven Pratt, MD. And Kathy Matthews explain in their book Super Foods RX how the polyphenols found in oranges strengthens the benefits of vitamin C in the body. In a human clinical trial, orange juice was linked to increasing good cholesterol levels and lowering bad cholesterol.
Fiber in Citrus Fruit
The pectin found in oranges is a great source of daily fiber. This is the kind of fiber that helps lower bad cholesterol levels. Citrus pectin helps to stabilize blood sugar for its high fiber content. It is necessary to eat the orange’s juice, pulp and skin to obtain its fiber benefits. Most of the orange’s fiber is found on the inside of the orange’s rind.
Folic Acid and Cardiovascular Health
Folic acid is one B vitamin that promotes good cardiovascular health. Folic acid helps to lower blood concentrations of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid by-product of protein metabolism that plays a major role in cardiovascular disease. High levels of homocysteine can result in a heart attack. Homocysteine builds up in the circulatory system damaging the blood vessels. The combination of folic acid and other B vitamins can lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke, by removing homocysteine from the circulatory system.
A glass of fresh squeezed orange juice is more than just a refreshing beverage. The natural health benefits in oranges are great for the cardiovascular system. An orange is filled with fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that promote good health. Enjoy the sweetness of an orange and let your body absorb all the health benefits this citrus fruit.