Tuesday, April 21, 2009

orange you glad?

A woman I know recently shared with me part of the story of her childhood during World War II.  Oranges were not very available and were rather expensive.  When there was an orange in the house she and her brother were given the fruit.  Her parents ate the peels.  

Eating the peels of oranges is not something that we normally consider unless we are making marmalade or creating zest for a recipe.  However it is interesting to note that in phytonutrient research on oranges one of the flavanones, herperidin, which is found in the peel and inner white pulp, has apparently been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol and to have anti-inflammatory properties.  Recent research published in March of 2009 in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry states, " Our result proves hesperidin [a different form of herperidin] to be a valuable antioxidant that protects pBR322 DNA and RBC cellular membrane from free radical induced oxidative damage."  Not only does the herperidin help lower blood pressure, the natural magnesium in oranges helps to maintain the blood pressure.

Oranges are a very healthy fruit.  They are high in vitamin C, fiber, and provide antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  The fiber in oranges is helpful for relieving constipation while the iron and vitamin B6 content help purify the blood, produce hemoglobin and oxygenate the blood.

In other nutrition news it turns out that oranges also provide us with something called citrus liminoids, a bio-available substance that we access when we eat the fruit or drink the juice of citrus fruits.  Previous research indicates that citrus liminoids may lower cholesterol and there is a new research project being done on this topic by Agricultural Research Scientists in California.  Laboratory tests done with animals and with human cells have also shown that these liminoids can be helpful in fighting mouth, skin, breast, stomach and colon cancers.

Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor and delicious!  Orange you going to have one today? 

photo courtesy of www.free-stock-photos.com

photo courtesy of www.free-stock-photos.com

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