Hello and welcome to today’s installment of Cooking with Fey! With flu season sneaking up on us, I thought we should talk about the first fruit that comes to mind when we think about boosting our immune system- oranges.
Why oranges, you say? Because oranges boost your immune system, reduce free radicals in the body, ward off some forms of heart disease and keep our skin looking youthful. That’s a lot of benefit from one little fruit!
So with all that in mind, let’s break down how oranges are able to make such wonderful boasts about helping us live a healthy lifestyle.
But before I forget, oranges are also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin C
As you may know, oranges are a fantastic source of Vitamin C, which is an important nutrient linked to immune system health. Having a strong immune system helps the body ward off illness or recover faster from sickness. Which is especially important now that cold weather seems to be here to stay for most parts of America.
Vitamin C is also great for the heart. In a research study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of 126,399 adults were examined over the course of many years to reveal that for every serving of fruits and vegetables a person consumed, there was a 4% reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease. The study also pointed out that leafy green vegetables and foods high in Vitamin C, like oranges, had the largest positive impact.
Other studies have found that activities such as daily walking, combined with orange intake, can reduce blood pressure. So if you are concerned about your heart health talk to your doctor about adding oranges to your diet.
Vitamin C also increases iron absorption in the body, so if you suffer from an iron deficiency or anemia, then oranges might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
If you suffer from frequent kidney stones, then try reaching for oranges to help minimize the chances of getting these uncomfortable stones in the future. The citric acid found in oranges can increase urine volume and decrease calcium levels in urine- which leads to less buildup to form kidney stones.
Fiber is necessary in our diet for improving how the digestive system functions, and fiber feeds the good bacteria that live within our digestive tract. I know, not the prettiest thing to think about, but a healthy digestive system means a healthy you. And on the bright side, a diet with healthy levels of fiber can aid in weight loss and lowering our cholesterol levels!
Folate, which is one of the B vitamins, is important for tissue growth and normal cell function. Further, folate is especially important for pregnant women and our active aging populations.
Meanwhile, potassium helps the body maintain a normal blood pressure and nerve function. This means that oranges can help the nervous system regulate muscle movements more effectively. This is important for weightlifters such as myself, as it maximizes all that hard work we put in at the gym each week.
The potassium and vitamin C in oranges also combine to protect our heart. Heart health is important for me since I live with Atrial Fibrillation. So when I read studies like the one from Vanderbilt Medical School stating that a daily intake of potassium can lower the risk of developing heart disease, I definitely made sure to start eating oranges so my own heart condition doesn’t worsen.
Another B vitamin found in oranges is Thiamin. Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, is responsible for converting the carbohydrates we eat into energy. Which is fantastic for gym goers, as this means more energy to lift weights! The B vitamin Thiamin also helps our muscles to contract and our nervous system to send signals throughout the body.
Oranges also contain antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. As you may remember from a previous blog on strawberries, antioxidants have been shown in studies to delay cognitive issues like memory less, fight cancer and decrease your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.
These same antioxidants also keep our skin looking young and beautiful. Science is starting to show that consuming antioxidants can help slow the onset of wrinkles, age spots or decreased elasticity in our skin.