Healthy aging is a subject of great interest to a lot of people, as the practice of growing old gracefully can be difficult to prepare for and master. Among the many remedies and elements that can help on the quest to healthy and graceful aging is blood oranges. Along with being a sweet and tangy treat, studies have found blood orange to have numerous positive effects on the aging process.
Packed with vital nutrients, blood oranges contain high levels of vitamin C and lycopene. They are an excellent source of potassium, have high fiber content, and are rich in phytonutrients. In comparison, blood oranges contain nearly the same nutritional makeup of standard oranges, however blood oranges are less acidic and also possess very high levels of anthocyanin, which are red flavonoid pigments that give the blood oranges their intense color and high antioxidant properties. When it comes to health benefits, there’s no denying that blood oranges contain a multitude of perks.
Blood Orange Health Benefits
Here are the health benefits associated with them.
Anemia is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It occurs when you do not get enough oxygen-rich red blood cells in your body. This can lead to various symptoms, ranging from fatigue and weakness to the inability to concentrate or even more dangerous signs like heart palpitations. The best way to help prevent anemia, naturally, is by eating foods that contain certain nutrients. Blood oranges, for one, are a great source of vitamin C and folate. Both of which, are essential for red blood cell production. Anemia prevention can be obtained by including this super fruit in the diet and taking vitamin and mineral supplements if needed.
Arthritis is a common condition that affects everything from joints to ligaments and cartilage. It can lead to severe joint pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Not only that, but it can also affect the ability to perform daily tasks like walking, lifting or standing for extended periods of time. Typically caused by inflammation of the joints, cartilage, or ligaments, there are several causes for arthritis, but one component often overlooked is the effect of oxidative stress on the body. Eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants to help reduce pain and inflammation in the joints is highly recommended to prevent and ease symptoms of arthritis.
Blood sugar disorders are the most common metabolic disorders in the elderly population. There are several options to control blood sugar levels, both natural and conventional. While medication is a go-to remedy, the diet plays a major role in blood sugar balance and can work wonders when adjusted to balance levels throughout the day. Blood oranges have a low glycemic index making them appealing for diabetics, as they won’t spike blood sugar levels when consumed.
Blood type diets have become very popular in America today and have been spouting as a way to reverse diabetes, and while there is no definitive research or evidence of their success rates. Numerous diets incorporate blood type eating suggestions, which all aim to reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, and other conditions. Blood oranges are a great source of beta-carotene, converted into vitamin A, an essential nutrient for vision health and immunity. Due to their nutrient content, blood oranges may help promote healthy blood sugars and other related markers such as insulin levels and hemoglobin A1c.
Pumping blood through the body to keep all organs nourished and healthy, the heart is a key component to maintaining health as we age, yet heart disease is still one of the biggest killers in America and worldwide. Although it can be prevented, managed, and treated with medication, lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to consuming a healthier diet are typically a more preferred option. This means eating a diet rich in antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. The main ingredients of these foods are certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, that help the body produce the enzymes that fuel and keep the body’s organs healthy.
Higher levels of anthocyanins, like those found in blood oranges, have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. Like many types of vitamin C-packed citrus options, blood oranges can help lower cholesterol levels. In fact, according to one study, regularly consuming vitamin C can not only lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol significantly, it may also help raise your “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
In addition to vitamin C and anthocyanins, blood oranges are high in pectin, found to promote healthy cholesterol balance and heart health, and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that prevent the arteries from hardening and they may also help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by preventing plaque buildup.
In addition to the benefits for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, blood oranges contain a good amount of fiber, which can help promote regular bowel movements and create feelings of satiety and prevent overeating, by slowing down the movement of food through the digestive tract. When it comes to calorie content, blood oranges are low in calories and fat, which helps lower the risk for obesity.
Some research also shows that this fruit may help with maintaining a healthy weight, as the anthocyanin content of blood oranges has been found to lead to less weight gain and body fat increase, even when subjects consumed the same number of calories.
Due to the high amounts of pectin, a soluble fiber that slows down food digestion, symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal digestive pain and diarrhea can be eased or avoided.
While not a major factor, blood oranges do contain small amounts of boron and potassium, which may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, as they promote calcium retention in the body.
When it comes to skin health, blood oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, which is essential for assisting in creating collagen. In combination with anthocyanins, the nutrients help fight free radicals and stave off inflammation, and promoting blood circulation throughout the body, while vitamin A and beta-carotene may be beneficial to help maintain the health and integrity of the skin over time.
While vitamin abundance is in large supply, blood oranges also contain a decent amount of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help produce the sleep-inducing hormone serotonin, a critical element for promoting deep sleep and relieving tension. Tryptophan also benefits your body, such as reducing insomnia symptoms. Because blood oranges are high in pectin and tryptophan, they are considered excellent food to help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Antioxidants in blood oranges help reinforce the integrity of the lens in both eyes by protecting against oxidative damage that can lead to cataracts or age-related vision problems like macular degeneration. In addition, blood orange juice is an excellent source of a specific kind of vitamin C called cryptoxanthin, which protects the eyes from harmful UV rays.
Consuming Blood Oranges
There are many ways to incorporate blood oranges into your diet that can help you stay strong and healthy as you age. You can make them part of your recipes and enjoy the taste of blood orange with your favorite meal or make a blood orange smoothie for breakfast. If you are feeling less than healthy and are struggling with any signs of heart disease, consult your doctor about proper heart health and eating habits that may be affecting it.
While it’s easy to peel a blood orange and eat it as a snack or side option with breakfast, here are some additional ways you can incorporate blood oranges into your diet that will benefit you in your quest for healthy aging.
1. Add Blood Oranges to Cocktails
If you love a nice drink, take advantage of the fact that blood oranges are perfect for adding a little extra flavor and color to your cocktails. Unlike regular oranges, blood oranges have a deeper flavor that pairs with a wide range of spirits and liqueurs. Because the citrus can also have subtle notes of raspberry, it can also pair well with sparkling wine.
2. Add Blood Oranges to Smoothies
A great way to add blood oranges to a smoothie recipe is by pureeing them and adding them to the blender. You may puree them using a food processor or blender, however using the juice alone can also be a healthy treat that everyone will love.
3. Add Blood Oranges to Your Tea
Another great way to use blood oranges is by adding them to your favorite hot or cold tea beverage. You can also spice up a plain glass of water by adding one or two slices with ice.
4. Add Blood Oranges to Vegetable Medleys
If you are thrown off by the notion of vegetables and citrus, you read that correct, one great way to use blood oranges is by using them in vegetable medleys as they can add a little extra taste and flavor to the meal.
If you are looking for something more in-depth and a high flavor profile for your blood orange-inspired meals, here are a few recipes that you are going to enjoy.
This tasty and healthy salad combines the sweet and tangy taste of blood oranges with the wonderful flavor of basil. It makes a great side dish or can also be eaten as a meal with the addition of a protein option.
- 1 Blood Orange
- Canola Oil
- Olive Oil
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ C Fresh Basil, finely sliced
- 1 C Seasonal Vegetables of your choice
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut your blood orange in half and remove the seeds. Place the cut surface flat on a baking pan and place in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes to lightly roast the grapefruit skin. Remove from the oven and allow the fruit to cool.
- Slice the roasted blood oranges and removing the orange from the skin (discard the skin) and add the blood orange pieces, basil, vegetables, and grated Parmesan cheese (to your desired amount) in a big bowl. Drizzle with canola and olive oil until lightly coated. Feel free to add salt or pepper to taste.
- Garnish this salad with a fresh leaf of basil and enjoy right away or make it ahead of time so that ingredients can marinate together in the refrigerator before serving.
Start your morning off right by having a refreshing blood orange smoothie that will give you the extra energy you need to be active throughout the day.
- 1 Blood Orange
- 1 C Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1 Banana, peeled and sliced
- ½ C Fresh Spinach or Fresh Kale
- 1/4 tsp Fresh Ginger Root
- Fresh Mint Leaves (optional)
- Cut your blood orange in half and remove the seeds. Place the cut surface flat on a baking pan and place in the oven for about 5 minutes to lightly roast the grapefruit skin. Remove from oven and cool.
- Scoop the roasted grapefruit out of the skin and into a blender, then add almond milk, banana, spinach/kale, and ginger root and blend until smooth. Blend in mint leaves as desired.
This is a delicious way to eat blood oranges that will make you feel like you are having dessert for breakfast. It has a taste of sweet citrus that combines well with coconut for a perfect treat.
- ¾ C (minus 1 TBSP) baker’s sugar
- 1 ¾ C all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 C unsalted butter, melted
- ½ milk
- ¾ C freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- Zest from 2 blood oranges
- 1 ¼ C sweetened coconut
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin tin.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, except the coconut
- In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients
- Slowly add wet mixture into the dry ingredients stirring gently. Once combined, fold in coconut flakes.
- Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and bake at 375 for 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
- For an additional treat, combine 1 C powdered sugar, 3-4 TBSP milk, ½ tsp vanilla and additional orange zest and coconut flakes to make a glaze to drizzle over the top of the muffins.