Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Let us now sing the praises of the humble orange, a true winter superfruit. The impressive health benefits of oranges are there for you all season long, including – but definitely not limited to – that wallop of Vitamin C we all know and love.
Most of us know what a juicy, colorful orange is, and we have enjoyed the unforgettable taste that it naturally offers. And although the term ‘orange’ is familiar to many of us, there are a wide variety of varietals, including Valencia, navel, and Hamlin. Plus, other citrus fruits, including mandarins, tangerines, and clementines, can get grouped under the orange umbrella, even though some of these are technically not true oranges at all.
In the U.S., the Florida-grown navel orange is the most common type of orange, especially when it comes to producing juice – and they’re what we’ll primarily be focused on here, though there are certainly plenty of health benefits associated with other types of oranges and citrus fruits.
Health Benefits of Oranges
1. Supports cardiovascular health.
Orange fruit and orange juice consumption are linked to many heart-health benefits, thanks to the nutrients that it naturally contains.
Two notable flavonoids found in oranges, hesperidin and naringenin, may be responsible for many of the amazing benefits that eating oranges and OJ has to offer. In fact, studies show that when evaluating women specifically, higher intakes of one or more of these flavonoids are associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Plus, the potassium that oranges provide can help support healthy blood pressure, thanks to its role in maintaining fluid balance.
2. Helps strengthen immune health.
Intuitively, many people reach for a glass of OJ when they feel a cold coming on, knowing that sipping on this natural juice will fuel their body with immune-supporting vitamin C. And while it is true that orange juice (and oranges) are loaded with this key nutrient, vitamin C isn’t the only star of the immune-supporting story.
Oranges naturally contain carotenoids like beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, nutrients that support immune health naturally. And of course, vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which can help fight infections in the body.
3. Helps maintain skin health.
Oranges can help keep your skin in tiptop shape in a natural way. From the vitamin C that supports collagen production to carotenoids that fight free radicals that may damage the skin, including oranges in your winter diet can give your body skin-nourishing nutrition from the inside out.
4. Manages inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is linked to some unsavory outcomes, including an increased risk of certain cancers, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. And oranges are one food that may help combat this condition. The hesperidin flavonoid found in oranges and orange juice may be to thank for this anti-inflammatory role.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget About Peel Appeal
If you are into the pleasantly tart taste, including the orange peel in your diet can offer even more health benefits because this part of the fruit is jampacked with nutrients like vitamin C, fiber and calcium. Plus, the peels are a rich source of D-limonene, a compound that has unique anti-inflammatory and potential anti-cancer benefits.