Superfood is a total buzz word, matcha powder, medicinal mushrooms, acai berries and chia seeds are all that, but let’s not forget the nutritional prowess and vibrant hues of things like broccoli, tomatoes and pumpkin! Good health really can be as simple as it is to get caught up in the clever marketing of new health foods.
Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, readily available rich sources of vitamins and minerals, fibre and water. As watery bodies equipped with a digestive system that’s hungry for nutrients, fruit and vegetables really are the perfect antidote. How and why are these things so wonderful? Here are the facts behind some of our favourite Winter fruit and veg.
Despite the fact it’s known mostly for its sweet juice, I’m here to remind you that the orange is more than just a beverage. Sure, it’s rich in vitamin C too, but there’s plenty beyond the surface of this fruit that’s the same colour as its name. Native to southeast Asia, the orange is actually a hybrid of a pomelo and a mandarin, it’s a highly cultivated fruit worldwide and can be traced back to 314 BC.
Fun Ways to Enjoy
The orange shines so bright literally, and it does so in taste too! You really don’t have to do much to this fruit to enjoy its sweet, slightly-acidic profile. It’s a handy snack to enjoy on the go because it comes in its own skin, but is absolutely delicious sliced and served with fresh mint and a drizzle of olive oil, baked into a cake, or when squeezed over a slow-cooked tagine.
The orange contains this wildly perfect balance of acidity and sweetness; it’s the missing piece of the puzzle in most dishes you cook, as it helps to well-round flavour.
Chemically speaking, when acid hits water, hydrogen is produced and this releases salt, which really gets our tastebuds going and enhances the flavour experience of eating.
If you’re wanting to utilise orange in savoury cooking, a great place to start is with onions and garlic. Sauté these in a pan with some olive oil, add protein and vegetables of choice, season well and finish with the juice and perhaps a little orange zest! Orange is really delicious when paired with things like fennel, ginger, parsley and cinnamon.
Of course vitamin C is top of the list; one orange contains more than 100% of our vitamin C intake for the day! Vitamin C is a fabulous support to our immune system, crucial for collagen synthesis (the compound that makes our skin smooth and plump), and is an important antioxidant.
“The orange contains this wildly perfect balance of acidity and sweetness”
Oranges are a great source of potassium; an essential mineral and electrolyte that helps to regulate fluid inside and around our cells. They also contain a nice dose of calcium; the most abundant mineral in the body! Calcium plays a structural role in the body, supporting teeth and bones, it helps to maintain regular blood pressure and controls acid balance in the body.
Oranges contain a varied host of antioxidants. Heard that word before? Antioxidants are powerful plant chemicals (the good kind) that neutralise free radicals, which are highly-reactive and unstable molecules that can get in the way of normal cell production and replication causing chronic disease.
Oranges contain antioxidants including: flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C that have been shown in many studies to reduce inflammation, LDL cholesterol and oxidative stress. In one study, participants consumed just 236ml of orange juice daily for three weeks, during which time the specific antioxidant content within the chosen orange juice was recorded and maintained to ensure conclusive results. At the end of the study, oxidative stress markers reduced by 29%, LDL cholesterol lowered and the body was able to hold and build a supply of the antioxidants, ensuring they could continue to exert their powerful effects and prevent future oxidative damage.