A Tale of an Orange

by Meri on March 6, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was reading a colleague’s post about the recent Mediterranean diet craze in the media. His opinion is we are focusing too much on regions or specific foods instead of focusing on the point that other cultures simply eat more real food and less processed foods and sugar. While I respectfully disagree with him…I believe it’s very important to study these diets in correlation to disease, I also get his point. One of the most significant parts of a Mediterranean diet is the consumption of fruits and vegetables. No matter what side of the coin you fall on, be it low carb, vegetarian, paleo…we can all agree that more fruits and vegetables in your diet is important.

The American diet is really sort of pathetic when it comes to fruits and veggies…most Americans are consuming only 3 or less servings a day with a high intake of sugars and refined foods. This is a big deal.

Another significant study, the EPIC study, followed 313 074 men and women for an average of 8.4 years. They found that those who consumed 8 portions a day of fruit and vegetables had a 22% reduction in coronary heart disease mortality compared with <3 portions. Basically the difference between a Mediterranean style diet (5 to 9 servings a day) and the American diet (average of 3 or less servings a day).

The bottom line, plants are good for you. When you consume a variety of fruits and vegetables you get all sorts of protective benefits. For example…let’s dissect the nutrients of a a simple orange. Not some super fruit or some miracle diet supplement…just an orange.

Minerals:

Potassium – 326 mg
Phosphorous – 25 mg
Magnesium – 18 mg
Calcium – 72 mg
Iron – 0.2 mg
Selenium 0.9 mcg
Manganese – 0.033 mg
Copper – 0.1 mg
Zinc – 0.1 mg

Vitamins:

Vitamin A – 405 IU
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.2 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.1 mg
Niacin – 0.5 mg
Folate – 54 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6 – 0.1 mg
Vitamin C – 95.8 mg
Vitamin E – 0.24 mg

Phytochemicals - phytochemicals are plant chemicals that offer disease preventive properties:

carotenoids

isohesperidin

terpeniol

naringin

limonin

flavonoids

hesperidin

limomeme

Omega 3 fatty acids – 12.6 mg

Fiber- 3 grams

As you can see…each fruit and vegetable contain a significant amount of nutrients and plant chemicals working in synergy to protect the plant and subsequently, you from disease. You don’t want to eat oranges all day (another American habit)…different plants are higher in other nutrients and plant chemicals. Having a good variety in your day is by far one of the most important dietary patterns to decrease risk of disease, control weight and generally feel better.

Feel like eating an orange now? Me too.

You can try this orange/fennel recipe as well!

 

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: