Health Benefits of Blood Oranges
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), folic acid and anthocyanins are truly the superstars here in this beautiful little citrus fruit although it also contains good amounts of Vitamin A, calcium, fibre, potassium and water.
Two blood oranges a day will certainly help keep the doctor away because that is all it takes to fulfill the recommended RDA of Vitamin C and folic acid. Factor in the blood orange’s fair to trace amounts of other essential nutrients, and you will understand why health-conscious individuals have happily incorporated the blood orange into their daily diets.
Health benefits of this little beauty include but are not limited to;
Anti-cancer properties Vitamin C is a mighty anti-oxidant, which combats the oxidative stress caused by cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and staves off various forms of cancer including that of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach. Anthocyanins are the compounds that give blood oranges their dazzling color with the added benefit of having anti-oxidant abilities. Anthocyanins hunt down free radicals and not only prevent them from rapidly reproducing, but also induce apoptosis, or quite literally, cell death. Folic acid is crucial in the development of healthy red and white blood cells.
Adrenal gland health Vitamin C has been researched to prove critical to proper adrenal gland function.
Arthritis Vitamin C’s anti-oxidant super powers deactivate the free radicals that cause the uncomfortable inflammation generally associated with osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Bone health Potassium works to help preserve calcium in the bones and increase their strength, density and longevity.
Brain health Proper potassium intake markedly improves brain function by regulating healthy electrical conductivity. Potassium can also help prevent such neurological afflictions as epilepsy.
Diabetes Anthocyanins are anti-oxidant flavonoids said to be useful in preventing diabetes as they appear to lower blood sugar levels. Anti-oxidant vitamin C has also been shown to offer protection against diabetes as it prevents the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. However, citrus fruit in general should be eaten with doctor approval as it has the potential to adversely affect glucose levels in some individuals.
Eye health Vitamin A has been found to protect against age-related macular degeneration and to promote higher visual acuity in the general population by way of maintaining healthy eye tissue.
Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums. Vitamin A is good for the teeth and for the skeletal tissue. Calcium is critical for strong bones and teeth.
Heart health Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis. Folic acid has been shown to lower homocysteine levels in the blood, and high homocysteine is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanins utilize their amazing anti-oxidant abilities to war against oxidative stress, protect our blood vessels and lower LDL, aka “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL, or “good cholesterol.” Potassium is vital in regulating the heartbeat and it lowers blood pressure.
Immune system health Blood oranges have substantial amounts amount of vitamin C. Savoring these citrus delights on a regular basis will boost your immune system and give it the capacity to prevent innumerable infections and diseases and lessen symptoms and recovery time from those already afflicted. Anthocyanins are useful in preventing bacterial infections in particular.
Muscle health Potassium assists in the proper growth of muscle tissue, plays an important role in proper muscle contraction and relaxation and helps keep our nerves and reflexes fast and sharp.
Pregnancy Folic acid is highly recommended for expectant mothers as it forms vital red blood cells, helps with brain and spine development and can prevent neural tube birth defects in unborn babies.
Anti-oxidant properties Vitamins A & C and the flavonoid anthocyanins all have superb success in fighting against the cell-damaging free radicals that often cause premature aging. All three of these help keep the skin more elastic, the hair more bouncy and the nails more resilient.
Citrus fruits are great weight loss tools as they are high in fibre, high in water content and low in calories; and blood oranges are no exception. Eating blood oranges will keep you feeling full and satisfied and far less likely to grab for empty calories between meals. They do this by regulating blood sugar levels in the body and consequently curbing appetite.
Of course, eating blood oranges straight out of their peels is a grand delight in and of itself. However, if you wish to get a little fancier on the kitchen front, there are numerous ways to incorporate them in your daily snacks and dishes.
Blood orange wedges rubbed with mint make for pretty and tasty little companions in a summer fruit salad ensconced in a carved watermelon bowl.
Sliced blood oranges stand up well to braising and are a fun and unique accompaniment to spicy pan-roasted chicken breasts. Simply sprinkle them with some salt and your favorite herb (rosemary in particular is wonderful), dot with light butter, bathe in chicken or vegetable broth and bake for about an hour.
Blood orange slices can be placed atop succulent white fish, topped with a patty of butter substitute, a spoonful of minced garlic and some snipped, fresh herbs and baked in parchment paper for a quick, easy and sublime entrée with a definite wow factor for presentation.
Spend a rainy Saturday afternoon getting sticky with the kids while making a deep crimson red blood orange, chai & coconut marmalade that can be spread on toast, slathered between a sandwich or placed on a toast point with goat cheese for an enticing appetizer.
Blood orange sorbet or gelato is downright divine and looks stunning served in a fancy see-through ice cream glass with a sprig of mint. And a startlingly red-tinted blood orange semi freddo looks, feels and tastes downright sinful.
And speaking of sinfully sweet (but semi-healthy!) indulgence, squeeze some fresh blood orange juice and shake up a tangy blood orange cocktail with campari, bergamont, sparkling mineral water and rice malt syrup.
Interesting fact about Blood Oranges: Temperature and light affect the color and intensity of blood oranges and most are actually cultivated under volcanic conditions on Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy!