The orange is your friend. It’s tasty and packed full of vitamin C, and you can juice the hell out of it. And if that’s not enough, it smells great. No wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular fruits.
But do you know all the health benefits oranges bring to the table?
The benefits of oranges: In short
Oranges are a low calorie fruit that packs plenty of fiber, so you’ll feel fuller longer. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, folate, and potassium and compounds like phenolics, carotenoids, and citric acid.
These nutritional goodies have potential benefits, including improved heart health, kidney stone prevention, anemia reduction, a boost in skin health, and help with weight management.
If you’re not a fan of eating oranges, you can sip orange juice, enjoy orange tea or liqueur, or use orange essential oil.
Sounds good, right? If you want to vitamin-see what this excellent citrus fruit has to offer, read on and discover the science-backed benefits of oranges.
Oranges are among the most popular fruits for many reasons, including their nutritional value. Here’s a taste of what you’ll get from a 140-gram (g) orange:
|% Daily Value
Vitamins and minerals
This fruit is chock-full of goodies, including the following vitamins and minerals:
- Potassium: 232 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin C: 82.7 mg
- Calcium: 60.2 mg
- Folate: 35 mg
Oranges are a potent source of antioxidant flavonoids. One of these bad boys is hesperidin, which is especially prominent in oranges.
Speaking of color, did you know that the color orange is named after the fruit? Apparently, before these citrus bombs were developed from grapefruit and mandarins, the color was simply called “red-yellow.” Now you know!
Oranges are fruity packages full of health benefits. And yes, there’s some science to back up these claims.
Oranges provide many benefits for your heart and cardiovascular system, thanks to their vitamin and mineral content.
The potassium found in oranges may help manage high blood pressure through its effect on sodium, or salt. When you increase your potassium intake, your body expels more sodium through urine. Potassium also eases tension in the blood vessel walls, further reducing blood pressure.
However, the recommended daily potassium intake is 4,700 mg per day, and an orange contains just 250 mg. So, if you’re looking to reduce your blood pressure, you’ll need to get potassium from other sources, too, and not rely on a singular orange.
Potassium may also play a critical role in preventing calcium buildup in the arteries, aka atherosclerosis. A 2017 study performed on mice found that a diet high in potassium reduced calcification and stiffness in the arteries.
Oranges’ high hesperidin content may also have heart health benefits. In fact, oranges are one of the richest sources of hesperidin.
A 2020 research review concluded that flavonoids help alleviate oxidative stress, and that effect could lower the risk of heart disease.
In addition, flavonoids may help prevent endothelial dysfunction. When this occurs, the lining of the arteries doesn’t behave as it should, playing a role in the progression of coronary artery disease.
Kidney stone prevention
Oranges contain components that may help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones.
A 2019 laboratory study found that citric acid (which oranges contain) may disrupt the formation of calcium oxalate and could therefore potentially prevent kidney stones. However, many factors can affect these results, and because the study was not performed on humans, more research is needed.
Reduced anemia risk
There are different types of anemia, a condition in which you have a low red blood cell count.
Iron deficiency anemia, a common form of the condition, happens when there isn’t enough iron in your body to create red blood cells. If you have too few red blood cells, your body can’t transport enough oxygen to your tissues. This leads to symptoms like weakness, tiredness, and dizziness.
However, vitamin C may increase iron levels in peeps with iron deficiency anemia. And where can you find vitamin C? That’s right. Oranges are packed with the stuff.
A 2018 study on rats found that vitamin C may help boost iron absorption, helping to balance an iron deficiency.
In addition, those with iron deficiency anemia often take iron supplements as a form of treatment, but this potent punch of iron can negatively affect the liver. So it’s possible that vitamin C may help prevent liver damage from the standard iron supplement treatment.
Yes, oranges may have skin benefits because of their considerable vitamin C content. Vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen, a protein that helps your skin retain water and remain smooth, firm, and strong. Basically, collagen helps keep your skin looking younger and delays wrinkle development.
Vitamin C also plays a significant role in protection against sun damage by acting as an antioxidant and mopping up damaging free radicals. Research suggests it may even help prevent sunburn and skin conditions that result from sun damage, such as skin cancer.
Because of their high fiber content, oranges are an excellent snack if you’re trying to reach or maintain a moderate weight. Foods that pack fiber are more filling and help support your digestive system.
Bonus: They’re also relatively low in calories but still sweet, so they can satisfy sugar cravings and make a sound alternative to candy. Fruit is nature’s candy, after all.
If eating oranges doesn’t appeal to you, there are other ways you can benefit from their red–yellow goodness.
Whole oranges vs. orange juice
While whole oranges and orange juice have many similar nutritional benefits, fiber content is one area where they differ considerably.
And it’s easy to drink much more orange juice than you would get from eating whole oranges. So, even though juice and whole oranges have similar sugar content, you’re likely to consume more sugar with orange juice — and because of the lack of fiber, it won’t keep you feeling full very long.
While most people don’t consume the orange peel, it *is* edible and can provide some health benefits.
Orange peels contain compounds called flavonoids. Research suggests these compounds may be able to limit the growth of cancer cells. They may also suppress other harmful attributes of cancer cells, such as their resistance to cell death, migration to different parts of the body, and sneaky ability to form new blood vessels.
Orange peels also contain vitamin C, which may provide some benefits for skin health. A 2018 study on human skin cells found that vitamin C may protect skin against UVB sun damage and decrease the skin’s inflammatory response.
Orange essential oil
Orange essential oil creates a pleasant aroma if you diffuse it in a room, and it may have antibacterial properties.
A 2019 laboratory study found that orange essential oil may help fight many bacterial strains, both on its own and when combined with starch. Therefore, orange essential oil may be useful as a natural preservative to help extend shelf life and ensure food safety.
Additionally, researchers in a 2019 study examined the effect of orange essential oil on intestinal bacteria in mice. They found that some components of orange essential oil — limonene, linalool, and citral — could increase the number of probiotic bacteria in the mice.
These beneficial bacteria play a crucial role in healthy digestion, and an increase in probiotics may equate to a more efficient digestive system.
Preparing orange tea involves boiling water and orange peel together. The goodness from the orange peel seeps into the water, allowing you to enjoy the benefits without having to eat the peel itself.
Instead of using boiling water to prepare orange water, use cold water and orange slices. Before drinking it, give the orange slices time to sit in the water so the juices flavor it while providing some of the nutrients found in the orange.
Oranges are a relatively easy fruit to prepare. While the peel is edible, most people choose not to eat it. If that’s you, simply peel away the bitter outer layer and then enjoy the fruit found on the inside.
Are there any side effects to eating oranges?
All in all, there are very few potential side effects of oranges. Some people may be allergic to oranges, but this type of allergy is relatively rare.
Now that you know how fantastic oranges are, here are some recipes that’ll leave you squeezed as punch.
Commonly used in stir-fries or orange chicken, orange sauce is a deliciously sweet and tangy complement to any meal.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Add oil, garlic, and ginger to a saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.
- Add orange juice, brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar, and soy sauce to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine water and cornstarch and mix well.
- When the 3 minutes are up, add the cornstarch-water mixture to the saucepan and whisk everything together for 5 minutes, until thickened.
That’s it! Now you can use the orange sauce any way you like.
Nothing is more refreshing than a tasty smoothie when you’ve got a craving for something sweet yet nutritious. This one tastes like a Creamsicle.
- 1 cup unsweetened milk of your choice (dairy or non)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 orange, peeled and seeded
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth, and you’re good to go! If you like a little more sweetness, add some honey or maple syrup. And if you want a nutrient boost, try adding chia seeds, ginger, or turmeric.
Sicilian Whole Orange Cake
If you’re looking for a way to use the entire orange in a recipe (peel and all), look no further than this yummy cake.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 whole orange, cut into wedges and seeded
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add flour and baking powder a little at a time, beating just until each addition is incorporated.
- Add butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
- Add yogurt and beat until blended.
- Using a food processor, puree the orange.
- Add orange puree to cake batter, pour batter into a cake pan, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
- Let cool completely before enjoying.
Oranges are a low calorie, healthy snack with high fiber content. They can help satisfy your hunger and your sweet tooth.
Plus, they’re full of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, folate, and potassium, to help with things like heart health, kidney stone prevention, anemia reduction, skin health, and weight management.
The vitamin and mineral content of a single orange is not likely enough to provide dramatic benefits, but it may play a role in optimizing your daily nutrition.
With virtually no downsides and a plethora of ways to eat and prepare them, oranges are a great addition to your diet. Pip, pip, hooray!