Nutritionally speaking, adding navel oranges to your daily diet offers many health-related benefits, including lowering your chances of cardiovascular and age-related diseases.
Flavonoids: Oranges contain flavonoids, one of the largest groups of dietary antioxidants which act as free radical scavengers. Scientists agree that oxidative damage caused by free radicals may play a pivotal role in the onset of many diseases, including cancer. The best way to prevent oxidative damage, experts advise, is to increase daily intake of antioxidants.
Vitamin C: Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the signs of aging and related diseases. Studies show that diets high in vitamin C substantially cut the risk of most cancers and heart defects. This essential vitamin is also crucial for a strong immune system, especially important during the cold and flu season.
Folic Acid: Oranges are a natural source of folic acid, a vital B vitamin. A new study sponsored by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests women who don’t metabolize folic acid properly have a greater risk of having a child with Down Syndrome. The U.S. Public Health Service has advised all women of childbearing age to ensure an adequate intake of folic acid. A deficiency in this water-soluble vitamin can cause serious neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, which causes lifelong disability, and anencephaly, leading to death soon after birth. Emerging research also suggests boosting folic acid intake may benefit all of us-not just mothers-to-be. According to a variety of studies, folic acid may help prevent fatal age-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s.
Carbohydrates: One medium orange contains 16 grams of carbohydrates in just 70 calories. Carbohydrates provide important fuel for the body, particularly the brain, as well as energy during exercise. During a workout, your muscles use stored carbohydrates called glycogen to fuel daily activity. Replenishing glycogen by eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as oranges ensure a speedy recovery after a workout.
Fiber: Eating fiber-rich foods such as oranges, which boasts 12 percent of the Daily Value, keeps the intestinal tract healthy and regular, in addition to warding off colon cancer. Studies show that the type of fiber found in oranges, called water-soluble fiber, helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduces risk for heart disease. Water-soluble fiber also helps suppress feelings of hunger-good news for dieters.
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