Everyone knows the popular saying “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. However, an orange a day can provide you with several health benefits as well.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of reasons why eating an orange a day is great advice for good health. Oranges are low in calories and full of nutrients. They also promote clear, healthy skin and even lower your risk of several diseases and conditions, making them a healthy part of everyone’s diet.
Oranges are one of the most popular fruits because of their natural sweetness, wide variety of types, and uses. They are also very versatile, they can be made into juices, marmalades, eaten whole, or even used as a face mask.
Oranges are believed to have originated in southern China, northwest India, or maybe even southeast Asia. They are also believed to have been cultivated in China around 2500 BC.
In Europe, oranges were first introduced to Italy in the 11th century by crusaders and were grown widely in the south for medicinal purposes. However. it wasn’t until the late 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century that sweet oranges became more widely known. This is when Italy and Portugal brought orange trees to the Mediterranean.
Shortly afterward, the orange was adopted as an edible fruit as well. They were widely considered a luxury item, at this time to which only wealthy people grew oranges in private greenhouses, called orangeries. It wasn’t until 1646 that the sweet orange was well known throughout Europe.
It was Spanish travelers who introduced the sweet orange to the American continent. It is believed, that on Christopher Columbus’ second voyage, in 1493, he planted the first orange tree.
1- Oranges protect against cancer
Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids which have been proven to help fight several varieties of cancer including skin, lung, breast, stomach, and colon cancers.
2- Orange juice helps prevent kidney diseases
Drinking orange juice regularly prevents kidney diseases and reduces kidney stones. However, you should drink orange juice in moderation because the high sugar levels in fruit juices can cause tooth decay and the high acid content can wear away tooth enamel.
3- According to studies, Mandarin oranges fight liver cancer
Two studies conducted in Japan have shown that eating Mandarin oranges reduces liver cancer because they contain vitamin A compounds known as carotenoids.
4- Oranges are rich in potassium to improve heart health
Potassium, which is an electrolyte mineral responsible for helping the heart function properly, reduces the chance of you developing an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an Arrhythmia.
5- Oranges fight viral infections
Studies have shown that the levels of Polyphenols in oranges protects against viral infections.
A great source of antioxidants
Oranges have over 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids which have proven to have anti-inflammatory properties and strong antioxidant benefits.
Oranges also contain:
- Vitamin B-6
- Pantothenic acid
Do to their high vitamin C content, which is over twice the daily recommendation, oranges help to boost the immune system.
Interesting facts about oranges
- Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world.
- Brazil produces more oranges than any other country in the world.
- In America, roughly 25 billion oranges are grown every year.
- In the 18th century, British sailors took oranges on their ships to prevent scurvy.
- Florida produces roughly 70 percent of all oranges in the United States, 90 percent of that production goes to make orange juice.
- In the Victorian era, oranges were commonly given as Christmas gifts.
- Oranges are the world’s third favorite flavor after chocolate and vanilla.
Concerns about oranges
Orange crops are sprayed with insecticides, this is why it is extremely important that you always wash your oranges in cold running water. For people who are susceptible to foodborne illnesses, it is a good idea to avoid drinking unpasteurized or freshly squeezed orange juice that may contain harmful bacteria.
Other uses for oranges
In addition to the many health benefits and the great, fresh taste there are several other beneficial uses for the amazing orange. A few of the uses of oranges include:
Bath oil or powder
The next time you want a relaxing bath squeeze the leftover orange peels into the bathwater which will make the water stimulating and provide several health benefits to your skin. You can also dry orange peels and grind them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.
Face and body scrub
A mixture of orange peels and other healthy ingredients will produce an excellent exfoliating scrub. Just dry your orange peels in an oven or direct sunlight then ground them into a fine powder using a coffee been grinder or a food processor. Next add chickpea flour and you will have an instant healthy naturally exfoliating cleanser for your body and face. Massage your orange scrub into your skin to get rid of all the dead skin cells from your body.
Orange face mask
You can make an orange face mask, which can be easily prepared from the comfort of your home, from ground up dried orange peels. This will give your face a healthy and refreshing appearance. Mix equal amounts of the orange powder and milk (or water) with one teaspoon of honey, then apply the mixture after thoroughly washing your face with lukewarm water. Let the mask sit for approximately 30 to 60 minutes till it has dried completely. Rinse with lukewarm water and you will enjoy a youthful appearance.
Excellent household cleaner
Cleaning up tough household messes is a breeze with a natural orange based cleaner. You can easily make an all-purpose orange spray cleaner by placing orange peels in a glass jar with ingredients that include:
- Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves or almond extract
- Lemon peels with rosemary and vanilla
- Grapefruit peels with mint leaves
- Lime peels with Thyme sprigs
Over your choice of the above mixtures and orange peels pour white vinegar and allow to sit for 2 weeks. Remove and discard the peels and dilute mixture with water at a 1:1 ratio and put it into a spray bottle. Your all-natural cleaner can be used to clean tough household messes on ceramic, stone, porcelain, marble, granite and laminate surfaces.
Note: This cleaner may discolor wood, so be sure to first test it in a small inconspicuous area.
Attractive all-natural decorations and gifts
It’s easy to make and attractive pomander with a sweet aroma out of orange and cloves. With a toothpick, poke holes in the orange creating an attractive design. Fill the holes with cloves and bake in the oven on at low temperature until it hardens.
Allow the orange to cool, then decorate with string or ribbons and hang in closets, kitchens, bathrooms or even as a decoration for your bedroom. The pomander will fill the air with a relaxing fragrance for a long time with the additional bonus of reducing moths.
As you can see the amazing orange provides many health benefits as well as several additional beneficial uses. So the next time you are at the grocery store swing by the orange stand and grab a couple extra to try one of the many beneficial uses we suggest.