The sunshine, happiness-inducing citrus fruit is more than just a sweet treat. Oranges offer numerous health benefits as well as being a delicious snack. From blood oranges, navel oranges, jaffas, pomelo and mandarin; whichever is your favourite orange variety you can enjoy a multitude of health benefits. So, as well as feeling uplifted from its refreshing, sweet scent, you can make the most of these top ten health benefits of oranges too.
1. Lowers Cholesterol
Did you know that the humble orange can go a long way to reducing your bad cholesterol levels? In addition to this, oranges can even help to regulate your blood pressure levels too. The science behind this feat is that oranges contain a nutrient called pectin. Pectin is a soluble fibre, and as it enters the body, it traps the cholesterol and then removes it from the body before the cholesterol gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
As oranges are an excellent source of soluble fibre, this means that as well as lowering cholesterol it can also help keep your digestive system healthy and can help reduce health complaints such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and constipation.
2. Fights Infections
Oranges are a great addition to your diet to help you to boost your immunity so that you can ward off diseases and infections. Oranges are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to promote the production of white blood cells within the body that work to build up a defence to fight against bacteria and viruses that can make us ill.
As well as vitamin C, oranges also contain vitamin A, copper and folate which all help to boost your body's defence system.
3. Promote Eye Health
Packed with vitamin A, oranges can go a long way in keeping eyes healthy. Vitamin A helps to protect against macular degeneration, which is a serious eye condition that can lead to blindness. Vitamin A from the beta-carotene in oranges also helps to protect against other chronic eye diseases, while vitamin C can also help to lower the risk of developing cataracts.
As well as preventing eye diseases, vitamin A can help your eyes to absorb light, improving your vision.
4. Cancer Preventing
Incredibly, oranges have been shown to fight cancer thanks to the citrus limonoids that the oranges contain. With both tests on animals and humans, oranges have shown to have the potential of fighting various cancers including mouth, skin, lung, breast and colon cancer.
In one study, it was also shown that they might reduce the risk of developing childhood leukaemia in children under two years old.
5. Combats Ageing
As oranges are full of antioxidant compounds, they are a great way to fight free radicals in the body which contribute to ageing. As well as helping to keep you looking and feeling youthful, the antioxidant properties of oranges can also protect you against a number of degenerative diseases.
By fighting free radicals, oranges can help to keep your skin looking radiant, healthy and clear too.
6. Prevents Heart Disease
As the high levels of vitamin C found in oranges can fight free radicals in the body, oranges can help to keep your heart healthy. Free radicals can oxidise cholesterol and cause them to stick to artery walls as plaque. If this is not managed, then the build-up can lead to blocked arteries which, in turn, can lead to a heart attack, stroke or coronary disease. Vitamin C can neutralise free radicals, so there is reduced plaque build-up.
7. Improves Mental Functioning
Boasting vitamin A and C in abundance, oranges also contain vitamin B9, known as folic acid, which can help with the learning and memory aspect of the brain. With increased brain development, oranges can help you to better recall and retain information. Oranges also contain polyphenols which help brain functionality.
8. Protect Against Arthritis
Studies have shown that consuming oranges daily can help reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The reason behind this is that oranges contain important phytonutrients, including zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin, it is these that can help reduce the oxidative damage to joints and lessen inflammation.
Ultimately, the antioxidants can help reduce joint swelling which in turn can aid movement and mobility.
9. Healthy Blood
Herperidin found in the flesh and pulp of oranges can help to lower your blood pressure which can help to reduce the risk of heart and blood diseases. In addition to this, oranges also feature potassium which is a mineral that can improve the functioning of the heart pumping blood around the body and keep your muscles contracting normally.
10. Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be an extremely painful condition, however, by consuming oranges every day you provide your body with the necessary vitamin C that increases citrate in the body. Citrate can then neutralise acids and reduce the chance of crystallisation which leads to the formation of kidney stones. The potassium found in oranges can also help to flush out the harmful free radicals in the kidneys too.