Human beings cannot manufacture Vitamin C in our bodies–— and we need constant replenishment of this vitamin from dietary sources. With this photo I’m thinking of Lestat and constant replenishment….but not to digress, it doesn’t have to be a blood orange, the flesh of a single naval orange will do, with only 64 calories, it provides almost one-quarter of our daily dietary vitamin C.
It’s ironic that the orange, a fruit with such wrinkly skin, can help prevent us from getting wrinkles. “Vitamin C is essential for making collagen, a natural protein found in the connective tissues that support the skin and help keep the skin elastic.”*
Citrus fruits release the most juice at room temperature.
An orange or vitamin C supplement?
“Foods don’t just have a biochemical importance: they create a kind of energy force in your body, the combination of several ingredients does it and that’s the kind of nutritional power you find only in the way nature makes food.”**
In studies to examine the impact of nutrients from food rather than supplements on skin aging, researchers reported that people who ate plenty of vitamin C-rich foods had fewer wrinkles than people whose diets contained little of the vitamin.
Oranges have more nutrients in them than just vitamin C. Many of the phytonutrients and fiber are in the orange pulp, so if you’re buying orange juice, get the kind with the pulp!
“While oranges are an extremely rich source of vitamin C, they also provide more than 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids. These nutrients working together have anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral, antiallergenic, Auntie Em, and blood-clot inhibiting properties.
And don’t forget to eat a bit of the peel (or include some zest in your favorite recipes) to decrease LDL “bad” cholesterol, glucose, and insulin levels, and to help prevent skin cancer.”*
“Another phytonutrient oranges contain is the flavonene hesperidin. In animal studies hesperidin has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol and also have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonene hesperidin is found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange, so to reap the full benefit of oranges, grate the peel and use it to flavor tea, salads, yogurt, soups, and cereals, or just rinse the peel off with tap water and take a bite of it.”*
Or make a delicious Blood Orange, Mint and Roasted Beet Salad. This recipe is adapted from Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Brendan gave me their book, Olives & Oranges. Beautiful pictures and recipes. I have changed a few things. But the inspiration and basic recipe came from their book.
Blood Orange, Mint and Roasted Beet Salad
4 medium red beets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
2 oranges, 1 blood orange (blood oranges have more tartness) and one other variety (naval works)
⅔ small red onion thinly sliced
½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon white Balsamic vinegar
Coarsely ground black pepper.
Heat oven 400°F.
Place whole beets in baking dish with inch water; drizzle one tablespoon oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover top tightly with foil and bake until tender about 45 minutes to an hour.
While beets are roasting:
Use a sharp paring knife to trim off tops, bottoms of oranges. Stand fruit on end and carefully cut peel and pith (love that word) from flesh, following curve of fruit. Trim away any remaining pith. Cut each section away from the membrane, cutting as close to the membrane as you can, and place segments in a large bowl.
When beets are tender remove from oven, drain, and let cool slightly.
While beets are cooling, add onion and a pinch of salt to oranges, toss gently to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes.
While beets are warm, peel beets (if you peel the beets in water your hands won’t stain) and cut each beet into 8 wedges about the size of the orange segments.
Add warm beets, mint and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar to oranges and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Nutritious and delicious.
Sources of information:
Sara Jenkins and & Mindy Fox, Olives & Oranges, Houghton Miffin 2008.
*Pratt, Steven M.D. Super Health, 2009.
**Roizen, Michael F., M.D., Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. YOU The Owner’s Manual version 2.0, 2008