Oranges

Oranges originated in Southeast Asia. Their season is in late autumn. In a fresh orange there are 65 calories, 16.3 grams carbohydrates, and 3.4 grams fiber. Freshly squeezed orange juice has richer nutrients than other popular fresh juices like apple, pineapple and grape juices.

Even though the orange is one of the most familiar, widely available and popular of all fruits, it’s actually a hybrid of other citrus fruits most likely a cross between the pummelo and the tangerine. The sweet orange also known as the Portuguese or China orange, is the most widely enjoyed, followed by the Seville orange. The Florida or tangor orange is a hybrid of the sweet orange and the tangerine.

The sweet orange and the Seville orange originated in Southeast Asia. The Seville was the first to be widely cultivated in Europe where it was imported by Arabs during the conquest of the Iberian peninsula. The first Spanish colonists to settle in southern Florida took the sweet orange to the United States about 60 years later and missionaries spread the plant to California within the next three decades. In the early nineteenth century, the orange spread from Brazil to Australia.

Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, thiamine, and fiber (mostly soluble) which helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood glucose. Oranges are also good sources of vitamins A and B6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also have numerous phytochemicals as well as antioxidants such as beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Vitamin C is a significant antioxidant but in oranges it works even better by combining with other antioxidants to protect against oxidative damage that leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer and ageing. The most effective way to derive all the benefits of all nutrients in orange is to eat a fresh orange or drink the juice. The juice will have higher levels of almost all nutrients because of its concentration from the fruit. But watch out because a serving of juice can contain double the calories and 85% less fiber!

Source: Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: the Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. Print.

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