This is why you should eat oranges this winter

Oranges are now in season and you should eat and enjoy one of the most delicious and healthy fruits around. What's in this symbolic Israeli fruit that's so good health-wise?

Oranges (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

The smell of oranges can make anyone think of the abundant juice that oozes out and makes the hands sticky. Yet, it's always better to eat the fruit than drink the juice, because that's the best way to absorb the dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins.

Oranges are known for their large quantity of vitamin C, but they also have significant amounts of potassium, choline, vitamin A, dietary fiber, folic acid, B vitamins, and powerful antioxidants. Here are all the reasons to add one orange a day to your menu.

Strengthens the immune system

One orange has about 50 milligrams of vitamin C, yet there's still no clear proof that the vitamin helps prevent colds. What has been found is that vitamin C can shorten a cold on average by one day, and it strengthens the immune system so that's one definite reason to eat oranges.

Also, vitamin C is a very important antioxidant that encourages the production of white blood cells and has antiviral and disinfectant properties.

Keeps skin looking young

Vitamin C has an important role in the production of collagen, which is needed for developing connective tissues, healing wounds and maintaining the appearance of smooth and healthy skin. 

A study published in 2007 found that the skin of participants who ate foods rich in vitamin C tended to wrinkle less.

oranges on an orange tree (credit: INGIMAGE)oranges on an orange tree (credit: INGIMAGE)

Contributes to eye health

As we grow older, vision begins to deteriorate which doesn't just mean an increase in our eyeglass prescription number. As we age there's an increased risk of developing macular degeneration which causes vision loss and might lead to blindness.

A study conducted over a period of 15 years and published in 2018 revealed that regularly eating oranges can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by up to 60%. The information from the study indicates that flavonoids found in oranges are responsible for this beneficial effect. 

Phytonutrients like flavonoids have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects which protect cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease. Flavonoids are components in fruits and vegetables which give them their unique colors, and they're also particularly strong antioxidants. 

And the best part? Even one orange a week makes a difference.

Protects brain function

Flavonoids may also help protect the brain from cognitive decline, a broad process that may contribute to the development of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's. A study published last August in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that people who ate 600 milligrams of flavonoids daily had a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline compared to people whose daily intake of flavonoids was only 150 mg.

Helps with weight loss

Like tomatoes, cucumbers or watermelon, oranges also have lots of liquid - over 80% - and lots of dietary fiber, a combination that's optimal for the diet and the digestive system. 

Also, oranges are low in calories and are fat-free so if one snacks on oranges instead of pretzels, this will help with the weight-loss process.

Lowers risk of stroke and heart disease

Most fruit juices have high sugar levels but orange juice can provide health benefits.

Researchers from the Dutch National Institute of Public Health conducted a study that lasted 15 years and included 35,000 men and women aged 20-70 who filled out nutrition questionnaires, and among other things reported drinking natural juices. 

Findings showed that those who drank between four and eight glasses of orange juice per week lowered the risk of having a stroke by 24%. Even drinking a glass of orange juice three times a week has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke by 20%.

When looking at heart disease researchers found that those who regularly drank natural orange juice lowered their risk of having arterial disease by about 13%. The findings were published in the journal BMJ Nutrition.