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There’s a reason you see this eponymous fruit in the mouths of so many soccer players and other athletes: It’s simply one of the best things out there to eat, from its flavor to its flood of health benefits.
What Does It Have?
That’s because oranges pack a storage house-full of vitamins, nutrients, minerals and other helpful compounds and chemicals into their perfectly round, bright-colored bodies.
Some—but not all!—of orange’s most helpful components include:
Perhaps the fruit’s most famous attribute, this vitamin is rightfully known for its ability to help fight off the common cold. But vitamin C is so much more, playing a role in everything from hair and skin growth to bone and joint health to its role in keeping our teeth healthy and strong.
Also called vitamin B1, thiamine is considered one of the eight essential B vitamins, and it truly lives up to that lofty title. That’s because thiamine is present in nearly every cell of the body, helping them convert food to energy.
When it comes to folate—otherwise known as vitamin B9—there will be blood.
The vitamin is especially good for the stuff that fills our veins, helping our bodies produce red blood cells and make and maintain DNA.
This miracle mineral has an impact on nearly every muscle or major organ we’ve got.
That’s because potassium works in our bodies like an electrolyte, moving through our electrically-powered nervous system to help move our muscles– including those found in our hearts, stomachs and guts.
Technically a plant compound called a flavonoid, within an orange, hesperidin helps create the fruit’s unique color and taste.
Within the human body, it’s responsible for an even wider range of benefits, sporting anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, help in wound healing and even UV ray protection.
Along with flavonoids like hesperidin, beta-cryptoxanthin plays a big role in mixing up the striking color of an orange. Inside your body, the antioxidant gets converted into vitamin A, that’s essential to good vision, as well as immune system and reproductive health.
What Does That Do?
Alone, any one of these chemicals produces a number of beneficial chain reactions that have a net positive effect across the body. But when mixed together, they create a potent healthy cocktail that would put any mimosa to shame.
Just a few health-boosting benefits of oranges include:
Chalk it up to yet another amazing feature of hesperidin.
The flavonoid has been found to have a blood-thinning impact, helping blood pressure remain low—which is a key factor in warding off heart disease.
But the orange’s heart healthiness can also be attributed to its vast network of fiber, which has been linked to a decrease in cholesterol levels, yet another big player in overall healthy hearts.
Some studies have even found that the regular consumption of orange juice helps lead directly to a reduced rate of heart disease – which is currently the world’s leading cause of premature death.
Yet another benefit of oranges that blossoms from a group effort of their numerous vitamins and minerals, anemia prevention is perhaps a less commonly associated with the fruit. But, with the particular mix of healthful ingredients oranges rock, it’s not a surprising side-effect.
Folate found in the fruit helps boost red blood cell levels throughout the body. And that’s only aided by the efforts of both vitamin C and the citrus acid found in an orange. That’s because both compounds are essential for helping the body absorb iron, the important mineral whose depletion is what leads to anemia.
Help With Kidney Stones
The citric acid in oranges also helps lead to kidney health.
The caustic substance has been found to keep dreaded kidney stones at bay by preventing the mineral and salt deposits from forming in the first place, and also by chipping away at any stones beginning to form.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Like most fruits, oranges also have a reputation for helping keep blood sugar in check.
That’s thanks in no small part to the fruit’s outsize amount of soluble fiber, which not only aids in healthy digestion but can help promote a sensitivity to insulin – which leads, in turn, to a body that’s less likely to let sugar levels spike or dip to dangerous levels.
Lots of Hydration
Feeling parched? You might want to reach for an orange.
One medium orange alone can provide up to four ounces of water. That’s half a cup! And a properly-hydrated body is the foundation to a well-functioning body, with internal fluid levels having an impact on everything from energy levels and metabolism to circulation and digestion.
What Does That Mean?
There’s pretty much never a bad time to eat oranges – but the fruit may be a particularly helpful snack if you’re concerned about getting more iron, getting more vitamin C or boosting your blood health.
Orange you glad you know so much more about oranges now?