The oranges

By: Loretta Sebastiani

Cooking Basic ingredients of Italian cuisine The oranges

The oranges

The oranges: description, nutritive and therapeutic value, how to use in Italian cooking ...

Therapeutic and nutritive value of oranges
The oranges


Nutritive value in 100 g edible part

Edible part % 80
Water g 87.2
Protein g 0.7
Total fat g 0.20
Carbohydrates g 7.8
Total dietary fiber g 0.6
Food energy kcal 34
kJ 142
Sodium mg 1.9
Potassium mg 186.2
Iron mg 0.2
Calcium mg 49.0
Phosphorus mg 22.0
Thiamin mg 0.1
Riboflavin mg 0.0
Niacin mg 0.2
Vitamin A µg 71.0
Vitamin C mg 50.0

Description. The plants that bear oranges are native to China but we know they had been in the Mediterranean area since the Arabian domination.
Their fruit is called hesperidium because, according to the mythology, it is said it grew in the Hesperides' Garden. Hesperides were three very beautiful girls, daughters of Atlas and Night.
The juice of oranges deteriorates easily and so it would be better to drink it as soon as you squeeze the fruits.

Orange varieties. There are a lot of Italian orange varieties, widespread all over the world.
Here are the most famous.
The Navel family is characterized by its evenly coloured peel and spherical shape. Navel oranges are available on the market from October to the end of May. This is a widespread and very popular family, due to the exquisite texture of the pulp and the sweetness of its blonde juice.
The Moro orange is another typical Italian variety that is available on the market from early December to the end of February. Special pigments, or anthocyanins, in the pulp give the juice of the Moro its characteristically intense red color.
The Tarocco orange is available on the market from mid-December to the end of May. The fragrance and sweetness of the pulp, together with its abundant juice, make it one of the most popular varieties among lovers of "colored" oranges.

Nutritive and therapeutic properties. As you can see in the table, oranges are a good source of vitamins, first of all the vitamin A and C, followed by P and B. We need vitamins but the long preservation and the cooking often reduce the quantity of vitamins in the vegetables and fruit. Besides in our body vitamins decrease for many reasons: smoke, pollution, pathogenic agents, stress and drugs. One ot two oranges in a day provide our daily vitamin C requirement. This vitamin strengthens our immune system and so you should increase the number of oranges you eat in winter when there are a lot of common colds. Besides vitamin C defends our respiratory tract. There is an onother important thing: vitamin C and flavones have an important role in the reconstruction and preservation of human connective tissue; so bones and teeth are less fragile. Besides flavones associated to the same vitamin reinforce blood vessels, first of all capillaries, preventing the formation of oedemas.
So eating oranges may be an important thing to preserve beauty and prevent pathologies caused by difficulties in the blood circulation such as cellulitis, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Their most important therapeutic properties must be attributed to the same substances that are also responsible for their colour and taste: flavonoids(vitamin P) and terpenes. Terpenes reduce tumors of the colon, rectum and breast. Among the terpenes we have to remember the limonene that is in the citrus fruit zest (oranges, lemons, grapefruits) and that protect women from the tumor of the breast for its ability to oppose the effects of estrogens.
In short, oranges and all other citrus fruit (lemon, mandarins, clementines, grapefruits ...) and many other vegetables may lengthen our life because they are full of antioxidant substances.

In short, oranges have antiviral and antitumoral properties and they may lengthen our life!

But we have other important things to tell you. Oranges help our digestion as all the acidulous fruit do. Besides oranges are diuretic.
This kind of fruit is the ideal thing in the case of anemia, asthenia, dyspepsia, flatulence, hepatopathy, anorexia, capillary fragility, intoxication, stomatitis, dermatosis and eczematoid dermatitis.
In consideration of the utility of oranges for our health, we should eat them not only at the end of a meal but we should use them as an important ingredient in many recipes in the day. You can find a lot of ideas in the page dedicated to oranges.

Practical tips.

  • - If you crush the pulp of 2 or 3 oranges and apply it on the skin of your face, neck and shoulders, you can fight against your wrinkles. You have to take the flesh on your skin for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • - If you make a decoction boiling 1 or 2 orange rinds in 100 ml ((4 fl oz - 1/2C) water, you can obtain an effective medicine for a poor digestion. Besides it also reduces stomach-aches.
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