Oranges are so nutrient-dense that it’s best to consume the entire fruit—skin and all! Researchers are finding that its nutrients can neutralize free radicals—lower the risk of certain cancers and reduce inflammatory conditions, lower LDL (bad cholesterol), its anti-cancer effects last longer than green tea or chocolate, and they’re a rich source of fiber.
The fiber in oranges keeps the colon healthy by picking up cancer-causing chemicals and preventing them from coming into contact with colon cells.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that changes free radicals to prevent them from damaging the inside and outside of cells.They have over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids. In addition to being a source of vitamin C, phytonutrients, and fiber; they are also a good source of thiamin, folate, vitamin A (beta-carotene) potassium, and calcium. Other investigations include the effects of limonin, a long acting compound found in citrus whose anti-carcingenic effects lasting from 6 to 24 hours after the consumption of orange juice. The phenols in green tea and chocolate stay active in the body just 4 to 6 hours.
In addition to providing vitamin C that will prevent DNA mutations, which prevents cancer. It also prevents free radical damage to the body; thus reducing or preventing inflammation, the body’s method of getting rid of the damaged cells and molecules. Such inflammatory conditions as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis are reduced with the ingestion of foods rich in Vitamin C.
Researchers have found that vitamin C also prevents the oxidation of cholesterol by neutralizing the free radicals so that the cholesterol won’t become a sticky substance that sticks to artery walls and accumulate as plaques to cause strokes and heart attacks.
There are many benefits to the juice of oranges, but even more health-promoting phytonutrients (flavanones) are found in the orange peel and the inner white pulp of the orange. The white pulp contains herperidin, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, and is a strong anti-inflammatory in animal studies. Also in the white pulp are pectin and other fibers which can suppress hunger and curb appetite for up to four hours.
Researchers have found that polymethoxylated flavoness (PMFs)—tangeretin and nobiletinin in orange and tangerine peels have the potential of lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) more effectively than some prescription drugs.
In addition to looking at phytonutrients, specifically polyphenols-high in oranges and other citrus, scientists are now researching their role in brain functions-learning and memory.
So, the bottom line is eat the whole orange, skin and all, but make sure your oranges are organic-herbcide-free, pesticide-free, and wax-free.
George Mateljan, “The World’s Healthiest Foods: Oranges,” n.d., <http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=37> (accessed August 08, 2011
George Mateljan, “The World’s Healthiest Foods,” n.d., <http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodtip&dbid=8> (accesses August 08, 2011