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How Do Oranges Help Your Body?

By Erica Kannall

Getting vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and minerals are just some of the nutritional benefits of eating oranges. They're also a low-calorie but high-volume food that helps you feel full while working to lose weight. Select fresh, whole oranges as opposed to drinking orange juice for the greatest nutritional benefits.

Provide Vitamin C

The most notable way that oranges help your body is by supplying all the vitamin C you need in a day. A large orange gives you 98 milligrams of vitamin C, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Adult men need at least 90 milligrams per day and women need at least 75 milligrams per day. This water-soluble vitamin plays a role in the formation of collagen, an essential connective tissue protein. Vitamin C also aids in wound healing and supports immune function. According to an article published in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" in 2003, vitamin C may act as an antioxidant in your body, helping to neutralize free radicals compounds that otherwise may lead to heart disease and cancer over time.

Supply Dietary Fiber

Getting dietary fiber, an indigestible part of plant foods, is another benefit of eating oranges. Fiber helps your body regulate digestion, blood sugar and weight and possibly prevents colon cancer. The Institute of Medicine recommends men under 50 years old get at least 38 grams of fiber daily, women under 50 get at least 25 grams of fiber, men over 50 get at least 30 grams of fiber and women over 50 get at least 21 grams per day. A large orange gives you a total of 4.4 grams of dietary fiber, 1.8 grams of which are soluble fiber. Soluble fiber found in oranges, which absorbs water and swells in your digestive tract, may help to lower your cholesterol level and prevent heart disease, according to a May 2002 article in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

Contain Folate

Oranges help your body by supplying you with folate, an essential B vitamin. It's needed in your body for cell division, red blood cell production and preventing certain neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. You may also develop a form of anemia leading to fatigue if your diet lacks folate. A large orange provides you with 55 micrograms of the vitamin. Adult men and women need at least 400 micrograms of folate daily and pregnant women need at least 600 micrograms daily.

Give You Essential Minerals

Your body also benefits from the variety of minerals present in oranges. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper are some of these essential minerals. They play many roles in your body including maintaining bone and tooth health, proper muscle function, a healthy nervous system, energy metabolism, proper fluid balance and red blood cell formation. Absorption of the mineral iron is also enhanced by eating oranges because of the vitamin C they contain.

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