Blood Pressure : In Season: Oranges

By Michael T. Murray, ND

The history of the oranges dates back to ancient times. The first reference of oranges was found in an ancient Chinese text from 500 B.C. Spanish missionaries brought oranges to Florida in the sixteenth century, and today oranges have become the leading fruit crop in the United States.

Oranges are most known for their excellent source of vitamin C, which can exceed 131 grams, and is 100 percent of the daily recommended intake. They also contain a large dose of dietary fiber. Oranges are also a source of B vitamins, carotenes, pectin, potassium, and folic acid.

Because of their high levels of vitamin C and flavonoids, oranges aid the function of the immune system, lens of the eye, adrenal glands and the reproductive organs. Vitamin C in oranges has also been shown to help create healthy joints, gums and promote overall good health.

Hesperidin, the flavonoid found in oranges, is proven to help lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol. The consumption of oranges and orange juice is thought to help prevent against cancer and fight viral infections.

These health benefits are not limited strictly to oranges, and can be found in mandarin oranges, tangerines, tangelos, and citron. Oranges are an extremely functional fruit. Not only can they be consumed in the typical manner, but their juice and the zest from their skin can add flavor to almost any dish. The taste profile of oranges blends flawlessly with a variety of flavors from chicken to tarragon. One flavor combination I think is practically perfect is the blend of oranges and chocolate -- now that's a delicious treat!

Dr. Michael T. Murray is one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine and the author of more than 30 bestselling books, including The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. He is a graduate and former faculty member, and serves on the Board of Regents, of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.

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