Health Benefits of Oranges: The Famous Fruit From Nagpur
Many of us enjoy drinking a fresh glass of orange juice during breakfast or after a hectic day at the office. Orange is a low-calorie citrus fruit that has a sweet and tangy flavour. It is also added to cakes, pies or tarts for its refreshing taste. But do you know oranges also provide numerous health benefits like boosting immunity, maintaining glowing skin and improving poor eyesight? Read on to know about the health benefits of oranges!
Oranges are commonly known as “santra” in Hindi. It is a hybrid of mandarin and pomelo. They are citrus fruits which are scientifically known as Citrus sinensis. Oranges were first cultivated in Northeast India and South China, where pomelo is of Indian origin whereas mandarin is native to China.
During the mid-1400s, Italian traders bought sweet oranges from India to Europe and the Spanish introduced them throughout South America and Central America. The country’s orange season varies according to the region where it is grown. In North India, the orange season is from December to February. In South India, the season for cultivating oranges is from October through March. Central and Western India’s season is November through January, as well as March through May.
Did You Know?
– The word ‘orange’ is an unusual word and does not rhyme with any other word in English
– India is second in area and third in production of oranges in the world but has low productivity compared to other countries
– Oranges are one of the few fruits that can stay on the tree and not overripe
Indian Orange varieties
The two major varieties of oranges grown in India are mandarins and sweet oranges. These varieties are grown in several parts of the country and have sub-varieties like:
- Mandarin (loose-sleeved, easily peeled oranges): Coorg, Nagpur, Darjeeling, Khasi, Sum Thira, Kinnow.
- Sweet orange (peel adheres firmly to flesh): Blood red, Satgudi, Jaffa, Hamlin, Pineapple, Haryana and Valencia.
Among these, Nagpur variety of oranges is the most famous and sometimes the city of Nagpur is also known as the “city of oranges”, due to their popular oranges. Nagpur oranges are also one of the best mandarin oranges in the world. These oranges are grown during the monsoon season.
Health Benefits of Oranges
Orange is a rich source of vitamin C which reduces inflammation and boosts the immunity. It also contains dietary fibers that improve digestion, aid in weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. Potassium and calcium present in oranges lowers high blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular diseases. The citric acid present in oranges prevents the formation of kidney stones. It also contains flavonoids like hesperidin, which has antioxidant properties.
Oranges contain simple sugars in the form of glucose, fructose and sucrose. Flavanone, a bio-active compound present in oranges may help in preventing stroke. Additionally, vitamin A in oranges aid in keeping the eyes healthy.
Read on to know more about the health benefits of oranges.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), citrus fruits like oranges help in lowering the risk of ischemic stroke, in the case of women. A high amount of potassium present in oranges help lower blood pressure thereby reducing the risk of strokes.
A study which analysed 14 years of data from the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study, involving 69,622 healthy women reported that the presence of the bioactive compound flavanone in citrus fruits reduced the risk of blood clot-related (ischemic) stroke by 19%.
Oranges help in boosting immunity as it is rich in vitamin C. It plays an important role in strengthening the immune responses of the body by protecting against recurring cold, cough as well as other common infections.
Oranges contain vitamin A, which keeps the mucous membrane in the eyes healthy. Vitamin A also helps the eyes to absorb light by maintaining eye membrane health. Additionally, it reduces the risk of night blindness. Carotenoid compounds in vitamin A like lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, helps prevent age-related macular degeneration which leads to blindness.
The high content of vitamin C helps in reducing severe inflammatory conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, Vitamin C prevents free radical damage that activates these inflammatory conditions.
Maintains regular heartbeat
Oranges contain important electrolyte minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, which maintains steady fluid balance inside as well as outside the body cells. Additionally, this helps maintain normal heart rhythm and prevent abnormal heartbeat conditions such as arrhythmia.
Reduces bad cholesterol
Oranges contain soluble fiber, which is beneficial for lowering low-density lipoprotein levels (LDL). Soluble fiber attracts water in the large intestine, forming a slow-moving gel. This gel substance travels through the intestinal tract and picks up cholesterol and also pushes them out through faecal waste. As a result, cholesterol levels slowly reduces in the body.
How can you include orange in your diet?
Oranges according to Ayurveda can help treat asthma, vomiting, coughs, fevers, thirst, hiccoughs and indigestion. “Orange rava kesari” is a south Indian dessert that uses orange. Orange pancake is a favourite among kids.
You can use oranges to make marmalades for breakfast. Oranges are the most popular fruit for making candies and are also a favourite among most children. Additionally, you can use oranges to make sorbets, cocktails and as glazing on cakes for a zing of flavour. At homes, you can also use orange juice, orange peel and orange oil for skin care.
Some other uses of oranges are as follows:
- Add orange to juices, salads and even desserts as they have a great fresh flavour and smell.
- Make an infusion with orange leaves in hot water, for calming down nerves of people suffering from anxiety.
- Put some orange peels into a mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and use it for cleaning glass cabinets, tables, windows, doors and stained mirrors at home for a clean and sparkling look.
- You can chill orange juice and then use it as a face toner to reduce open pores and itching.
Therefore, have an orange a day to keep diseases at bay! How do ou like to use oranges in your daily life? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Excessive use of orange peel can have side-effects like colic or convulsions. Hence, people who suffer from frequent heartburns should avoid eating oranges as they contain organic acids like acetic acid and citric acid that can make the situation worse.
100g of Orange provides 47 calories, Carbohydrates – 12g (Dietary Fiber – 2.4g, Sugar – 9g), Protein – 0.9g, Fat – 0.1g (PUFA – 0g, MUFA – 0g), Potassium – 181mg
Percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 4%, Vitamin C – 88%, Iron – 17%, Magnesium – 2%, Calcium – 4%, Vitamin B-6- 5% (based on a 2,000 calorie diet)