Orange fruit nutrition facts
Delicious and juicy orange fruit contain an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals for healthy growth and development and overall well-being.
Botanically; orange is the citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family, of the genus; Citrus. The family also includes other related species of oranges such as pomelo, tangerine (mandarin orange), yuzu, lemon, and grapefruit.
Scientific name: Citrus sinensis.
Orange is a tropical to semitropical, evergreen, small flowering tree, growing to about 5 to 8 m tall, and bears seasonal fruits that measure about 3 inches in diameter and weigh about 100-150 g. Oranges classified into two general categories, sweet and bitter, with the former being the type most commonly consumed type. Traditional sweet varieties include Valencia, Navel, Persian variety, and blood orange.
Photo courtesy: orphanjonesNagpur (India) orange.
Tangerines are related varieties of oranges distinguished by loose, easily peeled skin (pericarp) and sweet juicy flesh (arils). They are also known as mandarin oranges in Europe and Satsumas in Japan. Just as oranges, they too belong to the Rutaceae (Citrus Family) and known scientifically as Citrus reticulata.
Fruits belonging to the citrus group described as “hesperidium,” (A hesperidium is a scientific term to describe the fruit structure belonging to the citrus group. In fact, the fruit is a modified berrywith tough, leathery rind. Orange peel contains many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous fluid-filled vesicles that are specialized hair cells).
Health benefits of oranges
Nutrients in oranges are plentiful and diverse. The fruit is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but rich in dietary fiber, pectin. Pectin, by its virtue as a bulk laxative, helps protect the mucosa of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. By binding to bile acids in the colon, pectin has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing its re-absorption in the colon.
Oranges, like other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin-C (provides 48.5 mg per 100 g, about 81% of DRI); Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the blood.
Orange fruit contains a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetin, naringin, and naringenin are flavonoids found in citrus fruits. Naringenin is found to have a bioactive effect on human health as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and immune system modulator. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in-vitro studies. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of oranges (navel variety) is 1,819 µmol TE/100 g.
Oranges also contain very good levels of vitamin-A, and other flavonoid antioxidants such as α and β -carotenes, β -cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds have been known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin-A also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin and essential for good eyesight. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps human body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Orange fruit also contains some amount of minerals like potassium and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure through countering pressing effects of sodium.