We all want to lead healthy lives and eating an orange daily can be part of your optimal diet. Here are just four of many benefits that will be part of adding whole oranges to your diet.
Sunburst Navel Oranges are a great source of soluble fiber. This is very helpful for lowering cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber attracts water in your intestines, forming a slow-moving gel. As this gel substance travels through your intestinal tract, it picks up some of the excess cholesterol compounds and pushes them out through fecal waste. Your cholesterol levels will go down over time, decreasing your risk of suffering from heart disease. You need 14 grams of total fiber for every 1,000 calories, explains the Colorado State University Extension website. Having an 1,800-calorie-per-day diet means that you need 16 grams of total fiber. A medium sized orange has approximately 3 grams of fiber, more than half of which is soluble fiber.
Oranges are rich in vitamin A, which includes a group of compounds that protect your eyes. Vitamin C has many benefits for eye health. It promotes healthy ocular blood vessels, and can reduce the risk of nuclear cataracts (clouding in the center of your lens that can make you see multiple images) and macular degeneration according to the American Optometric Association.
Getting 500 mg/day of vitamin C can slow the "the progression of advanced age-related macular degeneration by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent in individuals at high-risk for the disease," according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Drinking around five cups of orange juice offers up a full day's supply of vitamin C; Orange Juice is one of the highest sources of vitamin C, according to the USDA.
Optimal Heart Function
Oranges provide potassium, an electrolyte mineral responsible for normal heart function. Potassium works with other electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium and sodium, to carefully maintain fluid levels both in and around cells. Steady fluid balance allows electricity to conduct through your system, making your heart beat. When potassium levels get too low, you may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, known as an arrhythmia. You need 4,700 milligrams of daily potassium, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. A medium, 2 1/2-inch orange offers nearly 240 milligrams of potassium.
Lower Overall Risk of Disease
Oranges, and other citrus fruits, are rich source of vitamin C. One of the roles of vitamin C is to protect cells by neutralizing free radicals. When free radicals build up in your body, they cling to healthy cells, causing permanent damage. Free radicals cause chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease. Getting adequate amount of daily vitamin C reduces your risk of developing these chronic conditions. Women require 75 milligrams of daily vitamin C, while men need 90 milligrams, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements. You'll get more than 50 milligrams from one medium sized orange.
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