Sliced oranges on a wooden blue table

The health benefits of oranges

Oranges are bursting with vitamins and minerals, but can they really ward off colds? We take a closer look at how these citrus fruits can aid your wellbeing.

Oranges are a round, segmented citrus fruit with a pitted peel. The taste can vary from juicy and sweet to bitter, depending on the variety – more common ones include Valencia, Seville and Hamlin. Most oranges are available year-round, except for varieties such as blood oranges, which have a shorter season.


Nutritional benefits of oranges

Oranges are known for their vitamin C content, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. One medium orange will provide the NRV (nutrient reference value) of vitamin C for adults.

They also contain health-promoting compounds known as flavanones. Research suggests that these citrus phytochemicals help support the body and protect us from conditions such as heart disease and cancer – they’re also thought to have some anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial benefits.

Oranges are also a good source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium and potassium.

One orange counts towards one of your five-a-day. A 150ml glass of unsweetened orange juice also counts as one portion, although the NHS advises that orange juice, as with other juices, can only count once per day no matter how much you drink. Orange juice doesn’t contain the fibre that is present in the whole fruit and is high in sugars, so the NHS advises that fruit juice is best consumed with food to limit the damage to teeth.

Orange peel actually contains higher amounts of certain nutrients than the flesh, so using recipes that incorporate the zest of an orange will give your diet an extra boost.

Can oranges help reduce symptoms of a cold?

There has been an ongoing debate since the 70s as to whether oranges and the vitamin C they contain can help prevent a cold or reduce the symptoms and duration. A recent review of a number of studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement has no effect on colds if you’re already suffering with one.

Can oranges help to reduce blood pressure?

Research suggests that an antioxidant compound found in oranges called hesperidin may help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. This research also suggests that consuming citrus fruits as part of a healthy diet may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Orange recipes

Beetroot, orange & hazelnut salad
Chicken in balsamic, orange & rosemary sauce
Grilled mackerel with orange, chilli & watercress salad
Orange & raspberry granola
Carrot, orange & avocado salad
Orange & blueberry Bircher

This article was last reviewed on 16 September 2019 by Kerry Torrens.

Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at


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