Will An Orange A Day Cure A Cold?

 Juicy, sweet, tangy oranges! I am taking advantage of these currently being in season and including them in the shopping basket! Fruit in general in low in kilojoules and provides us with the nutrients vitamin C, folate, carbohydrates and fibre.

Let’s take a closer look at why we need these nutrients.

Vitamin C – A powerful antioxidant which acts as a bodyguard for your cells and tissues– protecting them from the oxidants and free radicals, which cause damage to them1.

It also helps with the uptake of iron which is especially important for vegetarians where plant-based sources of iron are not as well absorbed by the body2.

Does vitamin C help with the common cold?

In 2013 a Cochrane review (the highest standard in evidence-based health care) was done to test this theory and the results showed that vitamin c supplementation (200mg daily) did not prevent the cold from occurring, however, it did reduce the duration and severity of it3. The amount used in this study is 200mg which you would get from 2 large oranges, so if you are looking to recover from a cold quicker grab those oranges!!

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Photo by Amy Smith

Folate – In addition to folate’s importance in pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects it is also important for the development of healthy red blood cells4. A deficiency can lead to anaemia which leaves you feeling fatigued due to a lack of oxygen being carried around your body4. Folate deficiency is unusual, however, people with poor diets and malabsorptive problems such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease can be at risk4.

Fibre – 1 orange provides approximately 6g of fibre which is 20% of our daily recommended fibre intake. Fibre helps to fill you up, keep your bowels regular, lower cholesterol and keep blood sugars stable1. Remember when juicing fruit, you lose the fibre so its best to eat the whole orange rather than juice it.

With much debate in the media around sugar, it can be confusing as to whether the natural sugar in fruit is good for you. Here are some key points to remember5

  • Fruit contains 2 types of sugar – fructose and glucose. Moderate amount of these sugars is not harmful to health.
  • Natural occurring and added sugars provide kilojoules that in excess can lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.
  • The sugar in fruit comes packaged with fibre, vitamins, minerals and water – this combination is not harmful and important for a healthy diet.
  • If deciding to limit your sugar intake – skip the discretionary foods such as cakes, soft drink and ice cream instead of fruit.

 How much fruit should you be eating?

At least 2 serves of fruit each day for adults6.

1 medium orange = 1 serve.

Oranges pair perfectly with plant-based foods to increase your iron intake-  try adding it to salads and cereals.

Works Cited

[1]  E. Whitney, S. R. Rolfes, T. Crowe, D. Cameron-Smith and A. Walsh, Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition, Melbourne , Victoria : Cengage Learning, 2011.

[2] J. D. Cook and M. B. Reddy, “Effect of ascorbic acid intake on nonheme-iron absorption from a complete diet1,2,” Americal Journal of Clinical Nutrition , vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 93-98, 2001.

[3] H. Hemilä and E. Chalker , “Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold,” 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.cochrane.org/CD000980/ARI_vitamin-c-for-preventing-and-treating-the-common-cold.

[4] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Folate,” 20 April 2016. [Online]. Available: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

[5] The Brittish Dietetic Association (BDA) , “Food Fact Sheet: Sugar,” March 2014. [Online]. Available: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Sugar.pdf. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

[6] National Health and Medical Research Council, “Australian Dietary Guidelines,” 2013. [Online]. Available: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n55. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

[7] Nutrition Australia, “Fibre,” 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/fibre. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

[8] National Health and Medical Research Council , “Protein,” 09 April 2014. [Online]. Available: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein. [Accessed 2016 November 2016].

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