Monday, November 12, 2007

Fresh Orange For Natural Health

Orange (fruit), general name for citrus crop of numerous trees. Dissimilar varieties include the sweet orange, the sour orange, and the mandarin orange, or tangerine. The fruit is strictly a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of a number of easily separated carpels, or parts, each containing several seeds and many juice cells, covered by a leathery exocarp, or skin, containing various oil glands. Orange trees are evergreens, rarely exceeding 9 m (30 ft) in height. The leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and perfumed. Three essential oils are gained from oranges: oil of orange, obtained from the rind of the fruit and used primarily as a flavoring agent; oil of petigrain, obtained from the leaves and twigs and used in perfumery; and oil of neroli, obtained from the blossoms and used in flavorings and perfumes.

The orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus tree Citrus sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and its fruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, probably between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). It is a tiny flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are agreed alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins and 4–10 cm long. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.

Oranges originated in southeast Asia, in either India, Vietnam or southern China. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to discriminate it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. The English name originates from the Sanskrit naranga-s ("orange tree"). In a number of languages, it is recognized as a "Chinese apple" (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, "China's apple").

All citrus trees are of the single genus Citrus, and remain fundamentally interbreedable; that is, there is only one "superspecies" which includes lemons, limes and oranges. However, names have been prearranged to the a variety of members of the citrus family, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis and Citrus aurantium. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are measured berries for the reason that they have many seeds, are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. An orange seed is called a pip.

Oranges are broadly grown in humid climates worldwide, and the flavors of oranges differ from sweet to bitter. The fruit is regularly peeled and consumed fresh, or squeezed for its juice. It has a thick bitter rind that is habitually discarded, but can be processed into animal feed by removing water, using stress and temperature. It is also used in certain recipes as flavoring or a garnish. The outer-most layer of the rind is irritated or lightly veneered with a instrument called a zester, to produce orange zest, popular in cookery because it has a flavor related to the fleshy inner part of the orange. The white part of the rind, called the pericarp or albedo and including the pith, is a source of pectin and has nearly the same amount of vitamin C as the flesh.

Benefits of This Natural Health Fruit
Epidemiologic studies specify that a high consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It is reflection that this benefit may be due to the minor components, falvonoids, which have been proposed to inhibit LDL oxidation and platelet aggregation as well as to vitamins C, E, and [Beta]-carotene, which act as antioxidants. In addition, folic acid and natural folate found in citrus fruit and green vegetables has been shown to reduce plasma total homocysteine. Citrus juices, namely orange juice and grapefruit juice, are high in flavonoids, folate, and vitamin C, leading them to be potentially beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease. Animal studies have found orange juice to promote decreases in cholesterol.

A study to determine whether orange juice beneficially alters blood lipids in individuals with hypercholesterolemia was conducted. Sixteen healthy men and nine healthy women with elevated plasma total and LDL-cholesterol levels and normal plasma triacylglycerol concentrations served as subjects. Subjects included one, two, or three cups (250 mL each) of orange juice into their diets. Each dose was included for a four-week period. After the intervention period, subjects took part in a five-week washout period. Plasma lipid, olate, homocysteine, and vitamin C concentrations were measured at baseline, after each treatment and following the washout period.

It was found that intake of 750 mL of orange juice per day increased HDL-cholesterol concentrations by 21%, triacylglycerol concentrations by 30%, and folate concentrations by 18%. This amount of orange juice also decreased the LDL-HDL cholesterol ratio by 16% and did not impact homocysteine concentrations. There were no significant effects seen with less than 750 mL of orange juice daily.

Three cups of orange juice per day appears to improve blood lipid profiles in individuals with hypercholesterolemia. This serves as evidence to the importance of consuming greater than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

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