Why eat oranges?

oranges-428073_1280These past weeks we have been looking at different fruits you shouldn't ignore this winter and this week it's the turn of citrus fruits. So why eat oranges in this cold winter months? Packed with vitamin C, citrus fruits have long been associated with boosting the immune system. Although research has shown that they can’t prevent colds, it seems they can reduce the intensity and longevity of a cold, so it might be worth eating a few when you next feel your nose start to run!

But vitamin C does much more than helping to reduce the symptoms of colds. As an antioxidant it also combats free radicals and all the harm they do to our bodies. It also helps the body to absorb iron.

Women are recommended to have 75mg of vitamin C a day whilst for men the recommended level is 90mg. Depending on the size of the fruit, this whole amount could be met by eating a single orange!

But that’s not all that’s great about citrus fruits. They also contain lots of fibre, vitamin B1, thiamine, folate and potassium. Scientists have also identified at least 170 different phytochemicals in oranges and some (citrus flavanones) are only to be found in citrus fruits. One such flavanones, hesperidin, can actually lower inflammation and may reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol.

You can get many of the health benefits of oranges by drinking a class of juice, but beware those sugars! The average orange contains 80 calories but it usually takes more than one orange to make a glass of juice and if you drink of couple of glasses of orange a day, those calories really do start to add up! Also it’s not great for your teeth. Finally oranges are also packed with a water-soluble fibre called pectin which reduces blood cholesterol and can supress hunger pangs! You miss out on this great fibre if you just drink juice.

Try taking some peeled segments in a plastic container to work to snack on, or sprinkle some on a salad.

Next week we take a look at that family favourite – bananas – and what they can do for you!

Blog, NutritionClaire Edwards