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There is an abundance of fresh produce in season during the colder months, but none as sweet or as popular as the orange! Oranges are powerful sources of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and potassium — all of which provide many health benefits. Below are thirteen sweet reasons
why you should eat more oranges this winter!
1. Cancer Prevention: Oranges are rich in citrus limonoids, which have proven to help fight against different cancer types including skin, lung, breast, stomach, and colon.
2. Kidney Aid: Drinking orange juice on a regular basis can lower the risk of kidney stones and kidney disease. Remember that fruit juices contain lots of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay and weight gain, plus too much citrus can cause acid reflux. Drink juice in moderation or water it down if necessary. Go the extra mile by squeezing it yourself!
3. Liver Protection: Recent studies show that eating mandarin oranges can reduce liver cancer cells in the body, which is most likely due to the high vitamin A compound content, also called carotenoids.
4. Cholesterol Reduction: Oranges contain lots of fiber and can naturally lower cholesterol.
5. Heart Health: Oranges are loaded with potassium, a special electrolyte that helps heart function within the body. When potassium levels are too low, you can become susceptible to abnormal heart rhythms or murmurs, also called arrhythmia.
6. Lower Risk Of Disease: The high vitamin C content in oranges plays an important role in protecting cells, by neutralizing free radicals that occur naturally in your body. Free radicals can cause many adverse diseases like cancer and heart disease.
7. Fighting Viral Infections: Who knew that oranges could heal on a microscopic level? The rich polyphenol content has been shown to protect against many viral infections.
8. Constipation Relief: Due to their dietary fiber content, oranges are an excellent natural choice to combat constipation. The fiber stimulates the digestive system and relives constipation.
9. Clear Vision: Oranges contain carotenoid compounds. When they are naturally transformed into vitamin A, they can help prevent against macular degeneration and vision loss.
10. Blood Pressure Regulation: The flavonoid hesperidin content found in oranges helps stabilize high blood pressure, and magnesium also helps keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
11. Healthier Skin: Oranges are full of beta-carotene, an extraordinary antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Specifically, it protects skin from free radicals and aging!
12. Alkaline Body: Don’t be fooled by its acidic properties — oranges also contain alkaline minerals that balance out your body right after eating. They are similar to lemons, which are one of the most alkaline foods, despite its acidic, tart taste!
13. Smart Carb Source: Oranges, like all fruits, contain healthy simple sugars. They have a glycemic index of 40. The general rule is that anything under 55 is considered low. As long as you don’t eat a lot at once, they won’t raise your blood sugar or cause problems with insulin or weight gain.
Fun Orange Facts
• Oranges are the largest citrus crop in the world.
• The color orange was named after the orange fruit.
• Orange is the world’s third favorite flavor after chocolate and vanilla.
• Brazil produces more oranges than any other country.
• 25 billion oranges are grown in America each year.
• Florida produces 70% of the total US orange crop, 90% of which goes to juice production.
• Oranges were first grown in Asia, India, and China around 2500 BC.
• Christopher Columbus brought orange seeds in 1493 across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain
• America’s first orange trees were planted in Florida in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.
Why You Should Eat Local Foods In Season
Here are four reasons why you should eat food that’s grown close to home:
1. Cost Effective: When foods are in season, they’re in abundance and can be found everywhere. This means that the crop becomes less expensive, relative to the supply and demand relationship.
2. Better Taste: When it comes to eating, taste matters! If food has a long way to travel, it can diminish flavor or change the taste. Travel time means that the crops must be harvested early and then refrigerated to slow down the ripening stages to avoid rotting. This causes them to not ripen as much as they would have in their natural environment, on their regular schedule.
3. More Nutrients: When produce is harvested early and continuously refrigerated, it is bound to lose the natural nutrients it could have had if it were grown locally in season. Outsourcing produce can require radiation and preservatives to kill off germs, but in doing so, could also cause more harm.
4. Variety: Despite popular belief, many crops are in season during the fall and winter months. Fall brings squash, apples, endive, garlic, grapes, figs, and mushrooms. Winter delivers citrus, kale, radishes, turnips, and leeks. Check out www.localharvest.org to find local farmer’s markets and seasonal produce information!
The lively taste and color of oranges can splash up a cold winter day or night. Eat them as a snack, on top of a salad, as a sweet dessert, or squeezed into a drink! Eat them anytime and gain nutritional benefits too!
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