October: A time for oranges! Are they all same?
Oranges are a citrus fruit that belongs to the Rutaceae family of the genus Citrus. They contain lots of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for normal growth and development. They also reduce the risk of diseases such as kidney disease, coronary heart disease, liver cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer and others. Dr. Elisabetta Macorsini, Nutritional biologist at Humanitas Mater Domini, explains the benefits of oranges to the human body.
Why is it so important to consume oranges?
“Oranges are fruits rich in water (about 90% of total weight) and do not contain fats. They have very little protein (0.5-0.8%), but make up for it in sufficient quantities of simple sugars (6-9%). These simple sugars in turn help provide a good supply of energy. Oranges also contain a good mix of vitamins: Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, Vitamin A protects the skin and mucous membranes and B vitamins (especially B1 and B2), stimulate the utilization of nutrients for energy production and regulate appetite,” says the specialist.
“Oranges are also rich in minerals: potassium helps keep the heart function well, copper is a constituent of the skin and hair, and magnesium is a powerful antioxidant. Oranges also have pectin, which is a fiber useful for proper bowel function and citroflavonoids. Citroflavonoids help fight against capillary fragility and all forms of organic aging.”
It is important to understand that not all oranges are the same. The “pigmented” varieties are among the most prized for their sweet taste and intense color, indicating the content is rich in antiocianine and bioflavonoids. These substances play a protective role and help anti-aging. Oranges are commercially available from December until March or so and they are most widespread in the Italian market.
Is it recommended to drink orange juice every day?
“Orange juice is good for the health; however, it contains a certain amount of sugar. For this reason, individuals who are overweight or have diabetes should drink it responsibly. It is also basically an acidic food, which means it can cause some digestive trouble to those who suffer from heartburn. Therefore, it is advised to drink orange juice after eating a snack, such as rusk” concludes Dr. Macorsini.
Aside from these tips, fresh orange juice can be consumed every day. The ideal approach is to drink it for breakfast, accompanied by toast and jam or as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. There is no need to add sugar to the juice because the orange itself is already a sweet fruit.
Interesting facts about oranges
- Orange juice should not be prepared in advance. This is because the vitamins that they contain rapidly decrease when they come into contact with light, oxygen and heat.
- The bigger the navel in an orange, the sweeter the orange will be.
- Fresh oranges have no wrinkles on their outer skin and feel heavy for their actual size.
- Fresh oranges have a bright orange color.
- Oranges should be kept at room temperature and in a cool area away from excessive moisture.
- Most oranges are called blood oranges because their pulp is a bright red color.