Maybe one of the most used fruits year round but especially at the holidays are oranges!
The yummy goodness of this bright and sunny fruit reach far and wide. The orange plant is believed to be native to Southeast Asia, mainly to the southeast and northeast India, Southern China, and Vietnam. The name ‘orange’ is presumably derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘Nāraṅgaḥ’ and the Telugu word ‘Naringa’, which after moving through different languages, ultimately became ‘orange’ in English. Different varieties of orange were grown in both southeast and northeast regions of India, dating back to around 7000 years ago. The fruit was used in various dishes, for the excellent flavor it imparts. In China, the cultivation of oranges was believed to begin in around 2500 BC. Many historians are of the opinion that the farmers of China established orange orchards by the beginning of the 1st century millennium, i.e., around 1000 AD. Soon, the nobility grew fond of this delightful fruit. This unleashed a competition among the cultivators to produce larger and tastier oranges, in order to please the nobility. The Romans developed the first orchard of oranges in North Africa, in around the 1st century AD. The oranges grown in North Africa were mainly supplied to the Mediterranean countries. Soon, the orange groves established by the Romans spread from Libya to Morocco. In the United States, the first orange tree was believed to be planted by Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer. He planted the first orange tree near St. Augustine, Florida, in mid-1500s.
Who know the humble orange was has such a colorful history! But why eat this sweet citrus delight? Here are just a few reasons according to Care 2 Healthy Living:
1. Oranges contain phytochemicals that protect against cancer.
Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, proven to help fight a number of varieties of cancer including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
2. Orange juice can help prevent kidney diseases.
Drinking orange juice regularly prevents kidney diseases and reduces the risk of kidney stones.
3. Mandarin oranges fight liver cancer, according to studies.
According to two studies in Japan eating mandarin oranges reduces liver cancer. This may be due in part to vitamin A compounds known as carotenoids.
4. Oranges lower cholesterol.
Since they’re full of soluble fiber, oranges are helpful in lowering cholesterol.
5. They are rich in potassium and boost heart health.
Oranges are full of potassium, an electrolyte mineral responsible for helping the heart function well. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia.
6. They lower the risk of diseases.
Oranges are full of vitamin C, which protects cells by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals cause chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease.
7. Oranges fight against viral infections.
Studies show that the abundance of polyphenols in oranges protects against viral infections.
8. They relieve constipation.
Oranges are full of dietary fiber, which stimulates digestive juices and relieves constipation.
9. They aid in good eye health and protect vision.
Oranges are rich in carotenoid compounds, which are converted to vitamin A and help prevent macular degeneration.
10. They regulate high blood pressure.
The flavonoid hesperidin found in oranges helps regulate high blood pressure, and the magnesium in oranges helps maintain blood pressure.
11. They protect skin.
Oranges are full of beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from damage. Beta-carotene protects the skin from free radicals and helps prevent the signs of aging.
12. Oranges alkalize the body.
Although oranges are acidic before you digest them, they contain many alkaline minerals that help to balance out the body after they are digested. In this respect, they are similar to lemons, which are one of the most alkaline foods available.
13. Oranges provide smart carbs and do not cause a blood sugar spike.
Oranges like all fruits have simple sugars in them, but the orange has a glycemic index of 40. Anything under 55 is considered low. This means as long as you don’t eat too many oranges at one time, they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause problems with insulin or weight gain.
But mostly you should eat them because they are sunny and bright and will bring a smile to your face!
Happy Healthy Holiday! Dana