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Oranges, slices of sun on your winter table
A great source of antioxidants, oranges fight free radicals and boost your immune system and metabolism.
Among all citrus fruits oranges plays an important role on your winter table: its aroma recalls the intimate atmosphere of cold months and, at the same time, the sun of southern regions and the mild climate of coastal cities. Orange trees, indeed, grow exactly along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, where temperatures are never too rigid and there’s much sunlight.
There are two main cultivars: citrus aurantium, the bitter orange, whose whole fruits are excellent when they’re candied with sugar and honey and whose pulp is used to prepare marmalade; citrus sinensis, the sweet orange, whose fruits can be eaten the way it is or squeezed. There are many varieties of sweet oranges belonging to two large families, common oranges (or blonde) and blood oranges (or pigmented) according to the colour of the pulp, the size and sweetness of the fruit.
Known to be a great source of vitamin C (one fruit a day basically meets the daily requirement), oranges are also rich in vitamin A, calcium and potassium. The peel (flavedo) is rich in beta carotene and vitamin E as well as precious aromatic essences that, thanks to their high content of terpenes, regulate the production of cholesterol, protect against tumoural agents, calm your heart and tackle insomnia. Even the white part under the peel (albedo) has amazing properties: thanks to the large amounts of vitamin P (rutin) it contains, it promotes the absorption of vitamin C, which in its turn stores calcium in the bones.
In this fruit there are many ingredients that work together: according to a study, fresh orange juice is much more effective than vitamin C alone in the prevention of stomach cancer. Eating at least one every day could reduce by as much as 50% the risk of mouth, larynx and stomach cancer. A study conducted by Australian experts revealed that adding just one orange to a daily diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart attack by 20%.
Oranges are a great source of antioxidants: there are as many as 170 natural chemical elements in oranges, including about 60 types of flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
The most appreciated variety is blood oranges: they are tastier and richer in nutrients and they contain twice the vitamin C of common oranges. These include Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello, grown in Sicily and distinguishable from their bloody red pulp. The pigments (anthocyanins) that colour blood oranges red help fighting free radicals. Studies on Moro blood oranges revealed that consuming one of these fruits daily triggers metabolism and reduces cholesterol levels, blood pressure and insulin resistance.
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