Oranges: The World's First Super Food
All great admen have a knack for neologizing, or making up new words to describe something they want to sell the public. One of their most successful creations in recent memory is the word super food, which was first used in the food and beverage industry in 2005. Nearly a decade later, the term is in the dictionary, even though there is no set standard for what a super food actually is. So, what is it?
Generally speaking, the marketing term refers to any food that is highly nutritious, which means the designation of any comestible as a super food is done at the manufacturer's discretion. While the term is most frequently used to describe newer fad fruits and vegetables, we would argue that the orange should be considered the very first super food. Why the orange?
The short answer is because it was first. According to fruit historians (yes, there are such people), the orange originated in Southeast Asia several thousands of years ago. However, the first written reports of their existence did not appear until 2500 BC in China. Although other citrus varieties like the lemon are nearly as old, none are as widely eaten or grown.
We all know that eating fresh oranges is good for us. But why, exactly? What happens when we swallow each segment or carpal of the fruit? Does it have magical, restorative properties? Believe it or not, some medical professionals think it might.
Vitamin C Benefits
An essential nutrient, vitamin C is most famously used to treat colds. It does this by boosting the immune system, which countless studies have confirmed can reduce the severity of cold symptoms. The vitamin may also be useful for allergy control for the same reason. When ingested in large enough quantities, there is even compelling evidence that vitamin C may actually prevent the common cold.
Dietary Fiber Benefits
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only around 10 percent of Americans get the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber. This indigestible substance food in plants helps promote regular bowel movements, which is good for our digestive health. Possible benefits include lower risk of heart attack and stroke and certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer.
It is important to note that dietary fiber is only found in fresh oranges, not in their juice. Even OJ that is fresh and contains pulp will contain only trace amounts of fiber, whereas a fresh orange has between 2 and 3 grams of it–almost 10 percent of the recommended daily amount!
It might surprise you to learn that oranges are actually a decent source of calcium. The famous mineral found in milk is known for supporting teeth and bone health. On average, a fresh orange give you about 6 percent of your daily value of calcium. So, when combined with a glass of milk, that's 36 percent of the calcium you need in a day!