In the dark days of winter, a bright sunny orange seems like a magical treat. And it kind of is, because, despite being naturally sweet and juicy, a typical orange has only 60 to 70 calories and a glycemic load of only four. Oranges are well known for their vitamin C, but they also provide an array of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help keep us healthy. Because oranges have a low glycemic index and provide nutrients that are lacking in some Western diets, the American Diabetes Association names oranges, along with other citrus fruits, as a superfood for people with diabetes. Oranges keep us healthy by providing us with:
- Vitamin C. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C—a single fruit provides all the vitamin C you need for one day. Vitamin C scavenges and neutralizes free radicals (harmful compounds that damage cells and their DNA), and is needed for healthy immune function and tissue repair.
- Flavanoids. Oranges are rich in these antioxidant compounds, as are other fruits and vegetables. Flavanoids are believed to be one important reason why a high intake of these foods is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
- Soluble fiber. Oranges are also rich in soluble fiber, particularly pectin. Although much of the pectin in oranges is found in the peels, and especially in the pith (the white inner peel), there is also a significant amount in the pulp. Pectin and other soluble fibers may benefit people with diabetes by possibly helping to improve, along with other nutrients in the diet, blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels.
Source: American Diabetes Association