These are one of Mother Nature's best super foods, packed with an unbelievable array of disease-fighting nutrients, all tucked neatly beneath the peel.
Juicy and sweet and renowned for its concentration of vitamin-C, they make the perfect snack and add a special tang to many recipes.
They're generally available from winter through summer with seasonal variations depending on the variety.
Loaded with vitamins, and the most abundant vitamin, is Vitamin-C.
A Healthy Dose of Vitamin-C for Antioxidant Protection and Immune Support
You already know this fruit is an excellent source of vitamin-C.
In fact, just one, supplies 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin-C, but do you know just how important vitamin-C and these super fruits are for good health?
Vitamin-C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage of both inside and outside cells.
Inside cells, a potential result of free radical damage to DNA is cancer.
Especially in areas of the body where cellular turnover is especially rapid, such as the digestive system, preventing DNA mutations translates into preventing cancer.
This is why a good intake of vitamin-C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.
Free radical damage to other cellular structures and other molecules can result in painful inflammation, as the body tries to clear out the damaged parts.
Vitamin-C, which prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, is also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Free radicals also oxidize cholesterol.
Only after being oxidized does cholesterol stick to the artery walls, building up in plaques that may eventually grow large enough to impede or fully block blood flow, or rupture to cause a heart attack or stroke.
Since vitamin-C can neutralize free radicals, it can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.
Vitamin-C, which is also vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system, is good for preventing colds and may be helpful in preventing recurrent ear infections.
A Glass of O.J. More Protective than Vitamin-C Alone
Consuming vitamin-C supplements does not provide the same protective benefits as drinking a glass of this citrus juice.
It appears that vitamin-C is not the only chemical responsible for antioxidant protection.
In these super fruits, vitamin-C is part of a matrix involving many beneficial phytochemicals.
For the best DNA protection, skip the vitamin-C fortified bottled drinks and enjoy a glass of real (preferably organic, as organic foods have been shown to contain higher amounts of phytonutrients), freshly squeezed O.J., or simply eat one!
Oranges also contain:
Betacarotene, another powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from being damage.
Calcium that helps protect and maintain the health of our bone and teeth.
Folic Acid for proper brain development.
Magnesium helps maintain blood pressure.
Potassium helps maintain electrolyte balance in the cells, and is important in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Thiamin helps to convert food into energy.
Vitamin-B6 helps support the production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm.
Vitamin-A: 190 I.U.
Vitamin-B: Thiamine .08 mg.;
Vitamin-C: 49 mg.
Calcium: 33 mg.
Phosphorus: 23 mg.
Potassium: 300 mg.
They're beneficial in the following cases:
Preventing kidney stones
Helps lower cholesterol
Helps prevent diabetes
High blood pressure
Persons addicted to alcohol have found that the desire for liquor is greatly reduced by drinking O.J.
Consumption of large quantities of this fruit will decrease the outpouring of mucus secretions from the nose.
An orange has over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, many of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and blood clot inhibiting properties, as well as strong antioxidant effects.
Compounds in Orange Peel May Lower Cholesterol as Effectively as Statin Drugs
A class of compounds found in citrus fruit peels called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects, according to a study by U.S. and Canadian researchers that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
In this study, when laboratory animals with diet-induced high cholesterol were given the same diet containing 1% PMFs (mainly tangeretin), their blood levels of total cholesterol, VLDL and LDL (bad cholesterol) were reduced by 19-27 and 32-40% respectively.
Comparable reductions were also seen when the animals were given diets containing a 3% mixture of two other citrus flavonones, hesperidin and naringin.
Treatment with PMFs did not appear to have any effect on levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, and no negative side effects were seen in the animals fed the PMF-containing diets.
Although a variety of citrus fruits contain PMFs, the most common PMFs, tangeretin and nobiletin, are found in the peels of these citrus fruits.
Juices of these fruits also contain PMFs, but in much smaller amounts.
In fact, you'd have to drink about 20 glasses of juice each day to receive an amount of PMFs comparable in humans to that given to the animals.
However, grating a tablespoon or so of the peel from a well-scrubbed organic tangerine or orange each day and using it to flavor tea, salads, salad dressings, yogurt, soups, or hot oatmeal, buckwheat or rice may be a practical way of achieving some cholesterol-lowering benefits.
The researchers are currently exploring the mechanism of action by which PMFs lower cholesterol.
Based on early results in cell and animal studies, they suspect that PMFs work like statin drugs, by inhibiting the synthesis of cholesterol and triglycerides inside the liver.
A Very Good Source of Fiber
This super fruits health benefits continue with their fiber; a single super fruit provides 12.5% of the daily value for fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis.
Fiber can also help out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, which may help explain why these can be a very healthy snack for people with diabetes.
In addition, the natural fruit sugar in these super fruits (fructose), can help to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.
The fiber in these fruits can grab cancer-causing chemicals and keep them away from cells of the colon, providing yet another line of protection from colon cancer.
And the fiber in these super fruits may be helpful for reducing the uncomfortable constipation or diarrhea in those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
In addition to the phytonutrients, vitamin-C and fiber, they're a good source of thiamin, folate, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), potassium and calcium.
Preventing Kidney Stones
Want to reduce your risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones?
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when women drank 1/2 to 1 liter of orange, grapefruit or apple juice daily, their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased, significantly dropping their risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.
Help Prevent Ulcers and Reduce Risk for Stomach Cancer
Eating an orange or drinking a glass of juice each day can help prevent gastric ulcers, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Protect Respiratory Health
Consuming foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in highest amounts in oranges, corn, pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, and peaches, may significantly lower one's risk of developing lung cancer.
Those eating the most crytpoxanthin-rich foods showed a 27% reduction in lung cancer risk.
When current smokers were evaluated, those who were also in the group consuming the most cryptoxanthin-rich foods were found to have a 37% lower risk of lung cancer compared to smokers who ate the least of these health-protective foods.
Protection Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition adds to the evidence that enjoying a daily glass of freshly squeezed O.J., can significantly lower your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Data collected by the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Incidence (EPIC)-Norfolk study, a population-based, prospective study of over 25,000 subjects, showed that study participants with the highest daily intake of the carotenoids, zeaxanthin and A-cryptoxanthin, had a much lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared to individuals consuming the least of these beneficial phytonutrients.
Those whose intake of zeaxanthin was highest were 52% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while those with the highest intake of cryptoxanthin had a 49% reduction in risk.
Pretty dramatic benefits for doing something as simple as enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed O.J. each day!
How to Select and Store
These super fruits don't necessarily have to have a bright orange color to be good.
In fact, the uniform color of the non-organic variety may be due to injection of Citrus Red Number 2 (an artificial dye) into their skins at the level of 2 parts per million.
Whether organic or not, when partially green or having brown russetting may be just as ripe and tasty as those that are solid in color.
Avoid those that have soft spots or traces of mold.
And, because these super fruits are among the top 20 foods in which pesticide residues are most frequently found, buy organic whenever possible.
Choose those that have smoothly textured skin and are firm and heavy for their size.
These will have a higher juice content than those that are either spongy or lighter in weight.
In general, those that are smaller will be juicier than those that are larger in size, as will those that feature thinner skins.
For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened oranges:
Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase.
Key to the process is the change in color that occurs as fruits ripen, a similar process to that seen in the fall when leaves turn from green to red to yellow to brown, a color change caused by the breakdown and disappearance of chlorophyll, which gives leaves and fruits their green color.
After examining apples and pears, scientists discovered that NCCs replace the chlorophyll not only in the leaves of fruit trees, but in their very ripe fruits, especially in the peel and flesh immediately below it.
When chlorophyll is released from its protein complexes in the decomposition process, it has a phototoxic effect: when irradiated with light, it absorbs energy and can transfer it to other substances.
For example, it can transform oxygen into a highly reactive, destructive form.
However, NCCs have just the opposite effect.
Extremely powerful antioxidants, they play an important protective role for the plant, and when consumed as part of the human diet, NCCs deliver the same potent antioxidant protection within our bodies.
Oranges can either be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending upon your preference.
They'll generally last the same amount of time, two weeks with either method, and will retain nearly the same level of their vitamin content.
The best way to store them is loose, rather than wrapped in a plastic bag since if exposed to moisture, as they can easily develop mold.
Orange juice and zest can also be stored for later use.
Place freshly squeezed juice in ice cube trays until frozen, and then store them in plastic bags in the freezer.
Dried orange zest should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container.
Allergic Reactions to Oranges
Although allergic reactions can occur to virtually any food, research studies on food allergy consistently report more problems with some foods than with others.
It turns out that these super fruits are one of the foods most commonly associated with allergic reactions.
Other foods commonly associated with allergic reactions include: cow's milk, wheat, soy, shrimp, spinach, eggs, chicken, strawberries, tomato, peanuts, pork, corn and beef.
These foods do not need to be eaten in their pure, isolated form in order to trigger an adverse reaction.
For example, yogurt made from cow's milk is also a common allergenic food, even though the cow's milk has been processed and fermented in order to make the yogurt.
Ice cream made from cow's milk would be an equally good example.
Some of the most common symptoms for food allergies include eczema, hives, skin rash, headache, runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, gastrointestinal disturbances, depression, hyperactivity and insomnia.
Individuals who suspect food allergy to be an underlying factor in their health problems may want to avoid commonly allergenic foods.
Savory Citrus Chicken
It seems as though you can find orange chicken almost anywhere you want these days.
It's most commonly found at fast food Asian restaurants, but don’t worry, this is much better than anything you'll find there.
What really makes this recipe stand out is the combination of orange, as well as lemon juice.
This recipe uses the deep fryer for cooking the battered chicken but you can certainly use a wok instead.
The answer is; Certainly.
Just be sure to add enough oil.
A great oil for woking this would be peanut oil.
Using peanut oil will give you the most flavorful chicken.
If you’re looking for a simple Chinese dish for dinner this evening, you'll want to give this recipe a try.
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-1/2” cubes)
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 eggs (beaten)
1/4 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Oil (for frying)
1 1/2 c. water
2 Tbs. fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. grated orange zest
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced ginger root
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbs. chopped green onion
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. water
Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and pepper.
Dip chicken in egg mixture and shake in flour mixture to coat.
Deep fry chicken in batches at 375 degrees in a deep fryer (or use a wok) until completely cooked.
Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.
Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes.
Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion.
Bring to a boil.
Step 3: Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly.
Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens.
Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.
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