Oranges And Anti-Inflammatory Properties

  • Rania AbbasBachelor's degree, Biomedical Sciences, General, University of Westminster

I bet you can spot an orange from a mile away from its vibrant colour and zesty flavour. It has been a favourite among fruits. With its delicious sweet taste, it contains a variety of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind orange's anti-inflammatory agents and how it can be a valuable addition to your diet.

Nutritional composition of oranges

Oranges are nutrient-potent fruits, loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. It is fundamental to understand their nutritional composition in order to acknowledge their anti-inflammatory properties. 

Oranges are famous for their high vitamin C content. In just one medium-sized orange fulfils the daily requirement of 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C.1,2 It boosts the immune system which plays a vital role in reducing inflammation. This vitamin is an antioxidant which neutralises free radicals (reactive oxygen) - the main cause of inflammation. By reducing oxidative stress, vitamin C keeps inflammation in check.3

Aside from vitamin C, oranges contain various antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which help tackle inflammation at a cellular level by extinguishing oxidative stress. When free radicals are generated during normal metabolic processes, they can be neutralised by antioxidants thus not causing damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. Flavonoids in particular have been extensively studied for their potent anti-inflammatory properties and their potential to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Furthermore, oranges also provide a good amount of dietary fibre - a type of carbohydrate from plants that can not be digested. A single orange has approximately 3 grams of fibre2 essential for digestive health. Fibre promotes healthy bowel movements that prevent or relieve constipation while also supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. All of which contribute to a healthier gut environment.4

Inflammation and health implications

To understand the significance of oranges in combating the effects of inflammation, we need to understand how inflammation is caused. The role of inflammation is a natural defence mechanism the body produces to fight off harmful foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. It’s a biological response that triggers the activation of immune cells and the release of signalling molecules with increased blood flow to the infected area. This process is significant for healing acute injuries.5

There are two different types of inflammation: acute and chronic. It is crucial to distinguish the two. Acute inflammation is an immediate short-term response to an injury or infection. Once the injury or infection is neutralised, acute inflammation subsides.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is characterised by low-grade systemic inflammation (which occurs when the immune system is constantly defending the body) lasting for prolonged periods of time - several months or years. This type of inflammation sends inflammatory cells even when the body is no longer in danger, which is why it’s problematic and linked to various health issues. Research shows that it is linked to conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Reducing chronic inflammation is critical for long-term health and disease prevention.

Oranges as anti-inflammatory agents

Numerous scientific evidence research aligns with oranges having anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have analysed the effect of citrus fruits, including oranges, on inflammation markers in the body. Studies have consistently shown that the consistent consumption of oranges and orange-originated products can lead to the reduction in markers of inflammation.

Key components 

An orange contains more than 170 phytochemicals and 60 flavonoids,7 which were the key components known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Examples of phytochemicals include beta-carotene, quercetin, and vitamin C. These specific components are introduced more in detail below:

Flavonoids: Oranges are rich in flavonoids, a varied group of phytonutrients with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The most eminent flavonoids in oranges are hesperidin and naringenin. Hesperidin in particular has a high potential to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a carotenoid antioxidant found in oranges and other orange-coloured fruits and vegetables. This is the pigment that makes oranges orange, and it also provides anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties by decreasing damage from free radicals and promoting cell health. Moreover, it's formed when the body is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun or other sources.7

Quercetin: Quercetin is another flavonoid found in oranges that has anti-inflammatory effects. It inhibits the production of proinflammatory molecules in the body.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acids): Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation by neutralising free radicals and supporting the immune system.

The mechanism of oranges' inflammatory effects is accredited to their ability to inhibit proinflammatory molecules and pathways, in turn reducing the overall inflammatory response in the body. Particular mechanisms may vary but the sole outcome is to mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress.3

Benefits of consuming oranges for inflammation

Reduced risk of chronic disease: The anti-inflammatory properties of oranges can help lower the risk of chronic disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.2

Improved cardiovascular health: Regular orange consumption has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, including lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol levels.2

Joint function: Oranges can be beneficial for individuals with inflammatory joint conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis by helping relieve joint pain and stiffness.9

Better management of inflammatory skin conditions: Some skin conditions like psoriasis involve chronic inflammation, which oranges can help improve.10

Recommendations for including oranges in the diet

There are many recipes that are incorporated with oranges or are orange-based, which are easier to prepare than you might think. 

Start the day with a glass of fresh orange juice: A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice is a refreshing and nutritious way to start your morning as well as a great source of vitamin C and hydration. Alternatively, you can also buy orange juice but be sure to look out for ‘concentrated’ as some may have less vitamin and mineral than they should.

Add oranges to your salads: The juicy yet slightly tangy flavour of oranges can accentuate your salads as they pair well with leafy greens, nuts, and vinaigrette dressings.

Snack on whole oranges: Instead of processed snacks like a bag of crisps, you can add oranges as a convenient and healthy snack option.

Recipe Ideas

Citrus fruit salad


  • Orange 
  • Grapefruit 
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi slices
  • Mint leaves for garnish

You can add or take away any fruits to adjust to your preferences and allergies.


  • Combine all the fruit in a large bowl
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves
  • Optionally, drizzle with a honey-lime dressing for extra flavour6

Pan-fried Mackerel with orange salsa


  • boneless mackerel fillets, thawed if frozen
  • smoked paprika oranges, segmented
  • large shallot
  • pitted black kalamata olive
  • flat-leaf parsley
  • olive oil
  • new potatoes and green beans, to serve (optional)


  • Gently rub both sides of the fillets with paprika and a pinch of salt then set them aside
  • Combine the orange segments with shallots, olives, parsley, and a generous dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • In a spacious frying pan, heat some oil. Fry the mackerel fillets for 2-3 minutes on each side
  • Serve the cooked mackerel alongside the prepared salsa. If desired, pair it with new potatoes and green beans


While oranges are thoroughly enjoyed and safe by many, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:

Allergies: Some individuals, although rare, may be allergic to city fruits, including oranges. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing after consumption of oranges.11

Interaction with medication: Oranges contain compounds that interact and impact specific medications like calcium blockers and statins. Consult with your healthcare provider to ensure there are no contradictions with citrus consumption.12

Moderation: Like all foods, the consumption of oranges should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Excessive consumption of oranges can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort due to their acidic nature.


In conclusion, while an orange is a delicious fruit that provides a sweet tangy taste for most individuals to enjoy, they are also a potent contribution to the battle against inflammation, especially chronic inflammation. A healthy rich diet in natural anti-inflammatories like oranges is a step forward to a healthier and happier life. In the long term, your body will be thankful as you consume one juicy orange at a time.


  1. Compounds I of M (US) P on DA and R. Vitamin C. In: Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids [Internet]. National Academies Press (US); 2000 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from: 
  2. FoodData Central. Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties [Internet]. USDA. [updated 2018 April, cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
  3. Cara KC, Beauchesne AR, Wallace TC, Chung M. Effects of 100% Orange Juice on Markers of Inflammation and Oxidation in Healthy and At-Risk Adult Populations: A Scoping Review, Systematic Review, and Meta-analysis. Advances in Nutrition. 2022;13(1):116–37.
  4. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free Radicals, Antioxidants and Functional Foods: Impact on Human Health. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2010; 4(8):118–26.
  5. Miles EA, Calder PC. Effects of Citrus Fruit Juices and Their Bioactive Components on Inflammation and Immunity: A Narrative Review. Frontiers in Immunology [Internet]. 2021 Jun 24;12. [cited 2023 Oct 15].Available from:
  6. Marshall JS, Warrington R, Watson W, Kim HL. An Introduction to Immunology and Immunopathology. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology [Internet]. 2018 Sep;14(S2).[cited 2023 Oct 15] Available from:
  7. Etebu E and Nwauzoma AB. A review on sweet orange (citrus sinensis l osbeck): health, diseases and management. American Journal of Research Communication. 2014;2(2):33-70
  8. Coelho RCLA, Hermsdorff HHM, Bressan J. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Orange Juice: Possible Favorable Molecular and Metabolic Effects. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 2013 Feb 17;68(1):1–10.
  9. Chahal A, Multani NK, Rao HK. Impact of Therapeutic Interventions in Patients of Osteoporosis. Indian Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. 2016 Apr-Jun;10(2): 61-65. 
  10. Rossi A, Béné MC, Carlesimo M, et al. Efficacy of Orange Peel Extract in Psoriasis. Global Journal of Dermatology & Venereology. 2015;3:1-4. 
  11. Iorio RA, Duca SD, Calamelli E, Pula C, Lodolini M, Scamardella F, et al. Citrus Allergy from Pollen to Clinical Symptoms. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2024 Mar 1]; 8(1):e53680. Available from:
  12. Saito M, Hirata-Koizumi M, Matsumoto M, Urano T, Hasegawa R. Undesirable Effects of Citrus Juice on the Pharmacokinetics of Drugs. Drug-Safety [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2024 Mar 1]; 28(8):677–94. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Rania Abbas

Bachelor's degree, Biomedical Sciences, General, University of Westminster

Drawing upon a background in Biomedical Science and completion of a PGCE, I am a seasoned writer committed to captivating crafting content. With a passion for informing, inspiring, and entertaining readers, I bring a wealth of experience and expertise to every piece. Whether unravelling the complexities of technology, exploring the wonders of science, or delving into the realms of literature, I am dedicated to delivering articles of the highest quality.

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