Ahhh, The good old orange and what do we know about it?
Oranges have been grown and consumed for over 4,000 years and they are chock-a-block full of vitamin ‘C’. Now we all know Vitamin C is good for warding off colds etc. Well, they are also great for boosting the immune system too.
But, did you know, oranges do lose their potency if left on the shelf for too long?
Vitamin C deficiency has been noted as far back as 420 BC. Seaman suffered from scurvy due to Vit C deficiency. Stories of seagoing people on long voyages where the fresh fruit could not be kept were given the juice from growing Mung Beans.
The vitamin C content is not as potent as if it were taken fresh off the tree and eaten there and then. A fresh orange has a strong flavour and it should taste like an orange should.
The first thing I do at the orange stand is to smell the oranges, Then I check the little green end to see if it is nice and green and plump. Some oranges even smell mouldy. Don’t buy them.
The next time you go to the store to buy oranges, check the little green bit at the end of the orange and see if it is moist, green and soft to touch. If it’s dry, crusty, has some grey areas and or mould then walk away.. It’s probably been in cold storage for years.. Why am I telling you this? I’ve been studying food and it’s benefits for years and trying to work out the best and most fresh foods to consume for optimal health and vitality.
If fresh is not available and you want and need oranges, have a look at the cartons of juice. I’m not a fan of them because I don’t know how long they have been in storage but I do know to read the label and see if it is made from fresh oranges and picked recently or if it is orange concentrate.
I don’t buy it if it’s packaged in plastic (or anything else for that matter). Hate plastic.
Oranges have a high concentrate of vitamin C. There are some other fruits which have as much but they are very expensive too. Strawberries for instance have a high Vit C count but not as much as the orange. If fruit is a problem for you then Red peppers will do the trick in the vitamin C department.
Oranges ½ cup 96 mg
Red peppers (bell) ½ cup 95 mg
Strawberries ½ cup 42 mg
So you can see how much cheaper it is to eat a good old orange as opposed to a few punnets of strawberries per week. Red (Bell) peppers are great cooked or eaten raw in a salad so you can up the dose of Vitamin C.
Vitamin A (IU) = International Units.
Oranges ½ cup 369 IU
Red Peppers ½ cup 316 IU
Strawberries ½ cup 21 IU
Vitamin C is also needed to synthesise Collagen which helps to maintain Muscles, tendons, arteries, bone and skin. (Good for your face too).
It’s required to produce Carnitine and decreased levels cause muscle weakness and fatigue.
Vitamin deficiency leads to poor wound healing, weakness, fatigue, bleeding gums, skin hemorrhage (scurvy).
Too much Vitamin C leads to diarrhoea, increased kidney stones (especially if you eat a lot of spinach and not enough water to flush out the kidneys. Kidney stones and or gravel can block up your kidney tubes and cause the most agonising pain, sending you to hospital for surgery to remove them.
We even use Orange Oil for our general cleaning. It has antimicrobial properties and is a wonderful cleaner.
I could babble on about oranges forever but I think you get the picture.
Food The Chemistry of its Components. Tom Coultate 5th ed. 2009
The complete book of Vitamin and Mineral Counts. C.T. Netzer 1997
The Complete Guide to Nutrients Dr. M. Sharon 2009
Oxford Book of Nutrition Gandy, Madden, Holdsworth 2012