“Oranges have so many nutrients,” says Dr. Yikyung Park, an associate professor of surgery at Siteman Cancer Center. “Even though the saying is ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ I always feel like it could also be an orange!” Oranges are famously high in vitamin C, an important antioxidant that can help support the immune system and clean up damage caused by free radicals, and it plays a key role in producing collagen. Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein, described as the glue that holds tendons, muscles, bones and ligaments together. (The word collagen is even derived from “kólla,” the Greek word for “glue.”) Serums made with vitamin C are frequently used in cosmetics to help stimulate collagen production and make the skin appear brighter.
Although carrots receive most of the press for improving eyesight, oranges deserve credit too. Carotenoids give both carrots and oranges their color — and both foods contain leutin, the pigment that boosts vision. Dr. Park points out that oranges also contain a good amount of thiamin, folate and other vitamins that keep the body functioning at its best.
As for the pulp-versus-no-pulp debate, Dr. Park says, “Orange juice with pulp will add more fiber, but even without pulp, it’s still good. I prefer to eat the full orange rather than just drink the juice to get the fiber and all of the other nutrients.” Not only does fiber aid in digestion, it also keeps you feeling fuller for longer and helps lower overall calorie intake.
In Good Taste is brought to you in partnership with Siteman Cancer Center. Watch for more healthy, seasonal cooking ideas each month.