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7,712 views • June 17, 2022

The Nutritional Magic in Orange Foods

Written by: Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D. A car needs the right kind of gas to run smoothly, and it’s similar for humans. They need the right kind of food to optimize their health and well-being. The best foods for our bodies and our brains are the freshest and they’re made in our own kitchens. They’re not made in industrial plants. Also, eating should be delicious and bring us joy. It’s no good to shovel “healthy” food into our mouths while standing by the sink, stressing about work, school, or the latest deadly infection! It’s also a mistake to stress about food. If we prepare a beautiful meal, but we do it resentfully, worried about the mess we’re making, we miss the opportunity to nourish our minds and bodies. This brings me to why I love to eat orange foods! Colorful fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemicals that help protect plants from invaders and the great thing about them is that they’re also beneficial to humans. Unlike green leafy vegetables, orange foods usually aren’t bitter. Like green leafy vegetables, eating orange veggies daily will help you have more energy, improve your digestion, and feel more vibrant. So, grab an orange pepper out of the fridge, squeeze yourself a glass of fresh orange juice, and I’ll tell you more about these foods and why you should eat them. Here are a few orange fruit and veggie ideas to get you started. Orange Vegetables Acorn squash Butternut squash Kabocha squash Carrots Orange peppers Orange tomatoes Pumpkin Saffron Sweet potatoes Turmeric Orange Fruits Apricots Cantaloupe Guavas Kumquats Loquats Mandarins Mangos Tangelos Nectarines Oranges Papayas Peaches Persimmons Tangerines Crazy About Carotene All of these vegetables and fruits are high in carotene. This is the yellow-orange pigment that gives them their bright orange coloring. Carotene is one of a group of orange, red, and yellow pigments known as carotenoids that are made by plants. They’re also made by animals, and even fungi! For the most part, the deeper the orange color of the food, the higher the carotene content it has. So why do we want to eat foods high in carotene? Our bodies convert this plant-made hydrocarbon into vitamin A in the liver. In grade school, a teacher likely told you that if you eat carrots, you’ll see better at night. It’s true! Vitamin A helps to maintain good eyesight, but it’s also responsible for keeping us healthy in a variety of other ways. Carotenoids promote the growth and repair of the tissue lining your mouth and intestines, bones, and teeth. They help prevent acne and maintain healthy skin, which is why so many people report seeing their acne improve when they start eating a more whole-food, plant-based diet. Carotenoids are crucial in helping protect against colds and the flu. They also protect against infections of the kidneys, lungs, bladder, and mucous membranes. But that’s not all. They also aid in digestion and help prevent gastrointestinal ulcers. Your body’s natural vitamin A also functions as an antioxidant, which means that it helps the body get rid of harmful agents called free radicals. But we should eat a lot of orange foods for more than just their carotenoids. Many orange foods are also high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and micronutrients. There’s no question that eating these fresh, healthy foods—in the form of whole foods—helps our bodies function better and avoid illness. Fighting Macular Degeneration With Healthy Food   According to a 1998 study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, some orange vegetables can help older adults avoid macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can eventually lead to partial or total blindness. Indeed, scientists in Germany found that foods such as orange peppers and corn contain high quantities of these two nutrients. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help the body fight against macular degeneration. Orange peppers are especially high in zeaxanthin, and orange citrus fruits and squashes also contain high levels
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