Orange is one of the most popular fruits in the world. It belongs to the citrus group, but its origin is a mystery. The first oranges are believed to have been grown in East Asia thousands of years ago. Orange is a natural source of fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants.
These components provide a number of health benefits, such as preventing obesity, anemia, kidney stones, improving the digestive system and heart health. Check.
A raw orange (about 100 grams) contains:
Orange is mainly composed of sugars and water and contains very low amounts of protein, fat, and calories.
Despite its sugar content, orange has a low glycemic index, ranging from 31 to 51 (see here study regarding 1). This means that blood sugar levels do not rise rapidly after their intake. Consuming foods with a low glycemic index is associated with health benefits such as preventing diabetes, obesity, and coronary heart disease in diabetics (see study: 2).
Orange is a great source of fiber. Every 184 grams of fruit (one large orange)contains 33.12 grams (18%) of fibers composed of pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. These fibers have improved the functioning of the digestive system, promote weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and feed the beneficial bacteria of the intestine, acting as a prebiotic.
Vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin C: Orange is an excellent source of vitamin C. A large orange can provide more than 100% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C ;
- Thiamine: is one of the B-complex vitamins, also called vitamin B1;
- Folate: also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid, folate has many essential functions and is found in various plant foods;
- Potassium: Orange is a good source of potassium. High potassium intake can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension and has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health (see here study regarding: 7).
Orange is an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, especially flavonoids and carotenols such as Hesperdina, anthocyanin, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lycopene, compounds that have antioxidant action (see here studies on this: 8, 9, 10, and 11).
Orange fibers also contribute to heart health as they help control cholesterol levels (see here study on this: 19).
Prevention of anemia
Anemia is characterized by the decreased amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood and is often caused by iron deficiency.
Although orange is not a good source of iron, it is a source of organic acids such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and citric acid, which increase the absorption of iron in the blood and therefore help prevent anemia (see here studies on this: 20, 21).
Whole orange and orange juice
Orange juice is a very popular drink all over the world. One of the main differences between orange juice and whole orange is that the juice is much poorer in fiber (check here study on this: 22).
This decrease in the amount of fiber can increase the glycemic index, which is not a good idea for diabetics (see here study on this: 23).
The consumption of excess fruit juice can contribute to weight gain and have harmful effects on metabolic health (see here studies on this: 24, 25, 26). Therefore, opting for the fruit in its integral format (removing only the peel), is the best way to consume oranges.
Orange does not have many known adverse effects on healthy people. Some people may have allergies, but it is rare.
Those suffering from heartburn may experience worsening symptoms after consumption of orange, due to the presence of organic acids such as citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).