Lately I’ve been starting my day with a bottle of water and an orange. Mainly because I bought a jumbo box of oranges at Costco and I was desperately trying to get rid of them before they went bad (note to self: probably better to stick to non-perishables at Costco, but that is another story), but also because I loved the burst of energy that the orange gave me in the morning. I also take all of my vitamins in the morning (Fish Oil, Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc, Multi-vitamin and Vitamin D) and I must have food in my stomach before I take the vitamins or I will get sick. I learned this the hard way one morning on my way to the Y, I had to pull over on the side of the road to vomit because I forgot to eat before taking my vitamins. Nice, I know. Sorry if you are reading this while eating your breakfast!
I told my husband the other day that as I get older, it seems to take more to get me feeling normal in the morning. I have to down at least one bottle of water, take my vitamins, workout, take a shower and now, eat an orange. I’m not sure if it is because of the sugar content in the orange or the vitamin C, but it really starts my day off on the right foot.
Speaking of Vitamin C, did you know that it is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet? It helps maintain the health of cells and protect them from free radicals, which are linked to cancer. While oranges are best known for their vitamin C content, oranges actually have more than 170 cancer-fighting phytochemicals and 60 flavonoids. Numerous studies have also found that citrus fruits lower the risk of many cancers. Have you heard of limonoids? Me either, until I read about the abundance of limonoids in oranges, which have been shown to fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach, and colon. Oranges also contain a polyphenol, hesperidin, which works with the vitamin C to reduce the risk of stroke, reduce inflammation, lower high blood pressure and lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the good kind (HDL). If that wasn’t enough, oranges contain calcium and 3.4 grams of fiber!
What about orange juice? If you are not concerned with your weight, than a cup of freshly squeezed (with the pulp) orange juice is OK, but even freshly squeezed orange juice doesn’t contain all of the healthy compounds or the fiber that is found in the whole fruit. The problem is that the orange juice, or worse an “orange juice drink”, that sits on the grocery store shelf, has been processed to the point that many of the health benefits are removed and sugar has been added. Is orange juice better than soda? Yes, but that is not the best comparison. If you love orange juice, your best bet is to buy a juicer and throw the entire orange in, peel and all, and make it yourself. Otherwise, stick to the whole fruit.
Oh, and by the way, Costco has a great deal on oranges. Only $9.99 for a huge box!