Texas Oranges: The Heart Healthy Snack
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Though they have been around for thousands of years, the orange was considered a delicacy before the 20th century. It was not until fresh fruit could be reliably transported that the orange became one of the world's most popular fruits, along with the grapefruit. According to the latest numbers, the orange is the third most eaten fruit on earth, after the tomato and the banana.
As an extra added bonus, the orange also has an interesting history. Its fate and future popularity was inextricably bound to the age of exploration, which began in the 15th century. Since the orange was new to Europe, explorers considered it exotic and they took it with them wherever they sailed.
In time, their travels took them to the New World, where Spanish explorers planted to first orange trees in Florida in the mid-1500s. The fruit was an instant success with the locals and it eventually spread to the three other citrus-producing states–California, Texas and Arizona. By the 1940s, each state had a burgeoning orange industry and the fruit had become one of the nation's most popular agricultural products.
At the time, few people appreciated the fact that citrus fruits were actually good for them. All they knew was that Texas oranges tasted good. In fact, most modern fruit lovers are still not sure exactly why Texas oranges are healthy. Sure, they know that they have vitamin C, but they don't know what makes them so healthy. In this article we are going to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of eating oranges.
As we mentioned, oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, and vitamin C is one of the world's most powerful antioxidants. The primary responsibility of antioxidants is to fight off nasty molecules called free radicals. Free radicals not only damage healthy cells, but they also oxidize cholesterol. And once cholesterol has been oxidized, it clings to the walls of the arteries and increases the risk of a blockage, i.e., a heart attack or a stroke.
But that's not all. Texas oranges also contain folate, which can lower the level of homocysteine, a common risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We also know that oranges are high in potassium, which can help control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Lastly, Texas oranges contain flavonoids and carotenoids, which many doctors prescribe to their patients as a way to control hypertension. One recent study concluded that people who consume citrus fruit on a daily basis reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke by almost twenty percent.