Oranges are extremely good nutritive sources of juice and fibre. Not only do they provide cholesterol-free goodness, but they also help increase the effectiveness of other elements.
We can trace the origin of the juicy fruit to China. The first reference of its mass cultivation is found in the history of the Indus Valley Civilisation, about 6000 years ago. It travelled with the Greek and Roman traders to the Mediterranean, Italy, Spain and Africa. Christopher Columbus introduced the fruit to America. The European seafarers discovered the health benefits of this fruit. It helped prevent scurvy, a disease quiet common in the undernourished sea travellers. They started carrying them along in their voyages. The tales of its benefits spread so much that it was made compulsory for every sailor to carry at least a hundred seeds of oranges with him on every trip to the Americas!
Orange is one of the largest berries on earth. It likes full sunlight and hates excess water. This is why it thrives in arid lands too.
It is the ideal fruit for people on diet. A medium-sized orange provides about 60-70 calories, but the rich fibre content is filling. They also clean our systems of toxins and helps build collagen, which is essential for body-building or convalescing.
Oranges are fat-and-cholesterol-free and low in sodium. They are abundant in calcium, potassium, vitamin C and phosphorus. People suffering from respiratory tract diseases should include a lot of oranges in their diet as the vitamin C acts like natural anti-histamine. The vitamin C not only builds immunity but also acts as a catalyst for iron absorption.
A phytonutrient present in oranges is said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
One can say in simple terms that vitamin C lessens hypertension and keeps blood pressure in check.
It builds resistance against common infections such as cough and cold.
A cup of orange juice will give 110 calories, 82 mg of Vitamin C and 473 mg of potassium, which is priceless for the body. With this nutritive value and low fat content, oranges are necessary for expectant mothers. They also contain a small amount of manganese, copper or zinc.
Oranges better than juice
A dose of vitamin C supplements cannot match the goodness of oranges. This has been proven by research of Italian researchers in the Division of Human Nutrition at the University Of Milan, Italy [Guarnieri S, Riso P, et al., British Journal of Nutrition]. It seems that Vitamin C is not the only beneficial element of an orange. It is a complex mixture of many phytonutrients that provide immunity to the body. Research scientists in Northern California led by chemist Gary D Manners, have demonstrated that citrus liminoids called limonene present in the oranges, help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. This finding can be useful in arresting the spread of cancer as the liminoids do not show any noticeable side effects.
Research also shows that regular consumption of orange juice reduces the crystallisation of calcium oxalate and uric acid — the two main compounds that cause stones in the kidney. The high acidic content of oranges may result in rashes if given to kids less than 12 months old. However, they can be given to older kids safely.
The pasteurised and packed orange juice does not provide the same nutrients as the freshly-squeezed one. Oranges can be peeled and eaten raw. Alternatively, orange juice packs a punch. However, ensure that the juice is not devoid of the entire fibre. Peeled and de-skinned orange sections can be mixed with other fruits to make a delicious salad or fruit cream. Then, there is marmalade and orange jelly to use the fruit in the preserved form.
While buying oranges, choose the pieces having smooth texture and thin skin. The heavier fruit promise more juice. They need not be solid orange in colour to be good. The ones having green or russet colouring may be just as good. Avoid buying oranges that have a soft spot or mouldy patches. Do not store oranges in plastic bags as they may develop mould.
The orange peel is an excellent application for the skin.
- Dry the leftover peels in shade.
- Grind them to make a coarse powder.
- Mix it with milk or creme and apply all over the face.
- Keep for thirty minutes or till dry.
- Wash with lukewarm water and pat dry to watch your skin glow.
The approximate nutritional content of a medium orange is as follows:
- Vitamin A – 346 IU
- Vitamin C – 82 mg
- Vitamin B1 [thiamine] – 0.09 mg
- Vitamin B2 [riboflavin] – 0.07 mg
- Niacin – 0.59 mg
- Folate – 48 mg
- Calories – 64 calories
- Carbohydrates – 16 g
- Dietary fibre – 3.4 g
- Potassium – 232 mg
- Phosphorus – 32 mg
- Magnesium -15 mg
- Calcium – 60 mg
- Sodium – 2 mg
- Iron – 0.18 mg
Tasty orange delights
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 banana, frozen
- 1 tablespoon non-fat milk powder
- Dash cinnamon or nutmeg
- 2 ice cubes
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy. Serve in 2 chilled glasses. Makes 2 servings. (via Ultimate Citrus)
- 2 oranges
- 1 litre milk
- 150 g sugar
- 1/2 tsp kesar
- Peel off the skin of oranges. Remove the inner transparent skin also.
- Boil the milk in a kadhai. Continue boiling the milk and stir it periodically till it turns thick.
- Add sugar into the milk.
- Continue boiling the milk till the colour changes.
- Remove the milk from the fire. Cool it for 5 minutes.
- Now mix orange and kesar to it.
- Cool the kheer for at least 2 hours.
Orange Kheer is ready to serve. (via Indobase Recipes)