Oranges And Cardiovascular Health

  • Pranjal Ajit Yeole&nbsBachelor's of Biological Sciences, Biology/Biological Sciences, General, University of Warwick, UK
  • Nick Gibbins BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, University of Sussex, UK

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Overview

Oranges and cardiovascular health already provide a highly promising relationship globally. Cardiovascular diseases are extremely concerning global problems since they are the second leading cause of the highest number of deaths. Accordingly, the awareness of their effect on protecting cardiovascular health is meritorious for maintaining orange-rich diet lifestyles. On the other hand, using orange to conduct further research for its use in cardiovascular health treatment is prospective. Let’s learn what oranges do to our cardiovascular system!

Introduction

The definition of “cardiovascular system” refers to the heart and the blood vessels of the heart.1 The health of the cardiovascular system is highly vital because of the lethality of cardiovascular diseases. They have the first place in being the highest death cause in the Western part of the globe.2 Therefore, it is of utmost importance to protect our cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of diseases in which hypertension, stroke, atherosclerosis, peripheral artery disease, and vein diseases are common. The research has already confirmed the great effectiveness of the diet in the prevention of CVDs. The American Heart Association has included a healthy diet in its list of recommendations for cardiovascular health maintenance.1

This article is dedicated to being informative about the paramount role of oranges in cardiovascular health.

Nutritional components of oranges

The research that has been conducted so far about the details of the nutritional components of oranges presents the existence of the following nutrients inside the oranges: vitamin C, sugars, carotenoids, flavonoids, and some minerals, for instance, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium and Phosphorus.3 However, the data vary in different research papers. These opposing views can be further clarified by indicating insufficient studies about the complete list of nutritional components of oranges, and there is a global opinion on the basic ones. Within those components, potassium, vitamin C, and flavonoids are correlated with the protection of cardiovascular health.4

Does orange reduce blood pressure?

Yes, it contains potassium. Potassium is associated with reduced blood pressure. Potassium is an ion that regulates the amount of sodium ions, which is an integral element for the body.5 All the ions are involved in biological processes in our body, and they are highly significant. 

Interestingly, in Rotterdam, a study carried out on 7983 people proposed a mechanism where the higher intake of potassium correlates with reduced levels of blood pressure. The literature evidence also highlights the credibility of orange juice as a resource of potassium.5 

Potassium results in an increase in blood flow by causing the relaxation of the muscles of the vessels through which the blood flows.6 Even more, the research has declared an association between the rise in potassium intake and reduced levels of lethality of cardiovascular disease and the occurrence of CVDs.7

What is the effect of oranges on cholesterol levels?

Studies have confirmed that there is a correlation between drinking orange juice over 12 months and lowering cholesterol levels in our body.4 This is correlated with the high levels of flavonoids in orange juice. Also, oranges trigger the levels of lipid in the body consequently resulting in a rise in lipid metabolism into high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is known as healthy cholesterol.4,8 Simultaneously, non-human subjects-based research has already confirmed the reduced levels of triglyceride.

An interesting fact about orange juice and flavonoids: in Brazil, orange juice covers 70% of the flavonoids in citizens' diets. Hence, investigating the contribution of orange juice in the prevention of cholesterol in Brazil’s population will be fascinating.

Roles of antioxidants in cardiovascular health

Antioxidants are neutralizers of reactive oxygen species (ROS) to prevent them from causing harm. ROS are unstable molecules that result in various types of diseases and initiate ageing. On the other hand, vitamins and minerals are known for their antioxidant properties. For instance, vitamin C is well known for its antioxidant effects, and it has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels.8 It is widely known that oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, and there is evidence in the literature about their effectiveness in boosting the levels of antioxidants in blood plasma.9 

Furthermore, there is also a bridge between the effects of oranges and lessened risk of cardiovascular health.9 The research has confirmed the altered levels of markers in the blood that represent the risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases after orange juice consumption.

Tips for incorporating oranges into your lifestyle

The best way to incorporate oranges into our lifestyles is by increasing the natural consumption of oranges. Without harming its nature, we can apply some recipes with oranges and enjoy consuming them. 

Here is one of my favourite orange snacks:

  • Melt dark, unsweetened chocolate
  • Cut an orange into thin slices
  • Dip half of the slices into melted chocolate 
  • Add a small pinch of rock salt onto the covered part. 
  • Put them on a tray 
  • Place into the fridge for a few hours 
  • Enjoy eating the delicious snacks!

For the winter season, here is another delicious snack to try: dried orange slices!

  • Cut an orange into thin slices
  • Place them on baking paper and cover them with another baking paper
  • While you turn on the heating device, place them in a place where they can get direct heat
  • Every few hours, turn them to alternate the direction of heat.
  • Within a few days, they will be ready to eat
  • Store them in a glass can and enjoy eating them!

Overweight and obese individuals can integrate orange juice consumption into their plans for tackling their health condition. There is literature evidence highlighting the favorability of orange juice in narrowing down cholesterol and blood pressure in overweight and obese populations.10

Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet is saturated with fresh fruits and vegetables with a high intensity of antioxidants.11 In addition, a Mediterranean diet can also help maintain your cardiovascular health. Moreover, drinking orange juice is adequate for covering the required nutritional consumption of folic acid, vitamin C, and potassium.4

For my very personal preference, 100% fresh squeezed and cold orange juice is perfect!

Is alcoholic orange beneficial for the heart?

Alcohol consumption is common in certain populations and is a debatable topic on health. Some people even argue about its positive impact on human health. However, overconsumption can lead to irreversible consequences on health. Considering this, you might wonder, “Does alcohol-containing oranges benefit our cardiovascular health?”

A study has confirmed the effect of fermented oranges in increasing the levels of flavanones in oranges. Flavanones are a type of flavonoids. The fermented orange had boosted levels of antioxidant effect.12 Therefore, it can be pre-assumed that generating a strictly regulated alcoholic orange beverage can be utilised in cardiovascular health maintenance. However, drinking a commercially available bottle of alcohol with an orange flavour remains a risk factor for general health. This research is still new and requires more investigation as well as more clinical support. The mentioned fermentation method is a precisely regulated method that does not align with normal alcohol production.

Summary

Orange contains some nutrients such as flavonoids, vitamin C, and potassium, which yield highly beneficial effects for cardiovascular health. The impact of oranges on heart-related health conditions has very robust literature evidence. Taking this into consideration, it has great potential to be harnessed as therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular health. On the other hand, cardiovascular health is highly concerning as it is the second leading cause of death globally. Subsequently, there is a high demand for new solutions and treatment options. The potential of oranges at this point is not negligible. 

We do not need research facilities, scientific background or occupation to start. The step is as simple as embedding oranges or orange juice into our daily lives! The easiest way of consuming oranges is drinking orange juice, which has undeniable health benefits. 

References

  1. Olvera Lopez E, Ballard BD, Jan A. Cardiovascular Disease. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 [cited 2023 Oct 2]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535419/.
  2. Casas R, Castro-Barquero S, Estruch R, Sacanella E. Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health. IJMS [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Oct 2]; 19(12):3988. Available from: http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/12/3988.
  3. Topuz A, Topakci M, Canakci M, Akinci I, Ozdemir F. Physical and nutritional properties of four orange varieties. Journal of Food Engineering [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2023 Oct 2]; 66(4):519–23. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S026087740400189X.
  4. Aptekmann NP, Cesar TB. Long-term orange juice consumption is associated with low LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in normal and moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects. Lipids Health Dis [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2023 Oct 2]; 12(1):119. Available from: https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-12-119.
  5. Valim M, Barros S. ORANGE JUICE AND BLOOD PRESSURE. Alim. Natr. [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2023 Oct 3]; 17(4):451-456. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49599854_ORANGE_JUICE_AND_BLOOD_PRESSURE
  6. Haddy FJ, Vanhoutte PM, Feletou M. Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2023 Oct 3]; 290(3):R546–52. Available from: https://www.physiology.org/doi/10.1152/ajpregu.00491.2005.
  7. Kwon Y-J, Lee HS, Park G, Lee J-W. Association between dietary sodium, potassium, and the sodium-to-potassium ratio and mortality: A 10-year analysis. Front Nutr [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2023 Oct 3]; 9:1053585. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.1053585/full.
  8. Cesar TB, Aptekmann NP, Araujo MP, Vinagre CC, Maranhão RC. Orange juice decreases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic subjects and improves lipid transfer to high-density lipoprotein in normal and hypercholesterolemic subjects. Nutrition Research [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2023 Oct 3]; 30(10):689–94. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0271531710001818.
  9. Foroudi S, Potter AS, Stamatikos A, Patil BS, Deyhim F. Drinking Orange Juice Increases Total Antioxidant Status and Decreases Lipid Peroxidation in Adults. Journal of Medicinal Food [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2023 Oct 3]; 17(5):612–7. Available from: http://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jmf.2013.0034.
  10. Li L, Jin N, Ji K, He Y, Li H, Liu X. Does chronic consumption of orange juice improve cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese adults? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Food Funct [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2023 Oct 4]; 13(23):11945–53. Available from: http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=D2FO02195A.
  11. Asgary S, Keshvari M, Afshani MR, Amiri M, Laher I, Javanmard SH. Effect of Fresh Orange Juice Intake on Physiological Characteristics in Healthy Volunteers. ISRN Nutrition [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2023 Oct 4]; 2014:1–7. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2014/405867/.
  12. Zuraini NZA, Sekar M, Wu YS, Gan SH, Bonam SR, Mat Rani NNI, et al. Promising Nutritional Fruits Against Cardiovascular Diseases: An Overview of Experimental Evidence and Understanding Their Mechanisms of Action. VHRM [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Oct 5]; Volume 17:739–69. Available from: https://www.dovepress.com/promising-nutritional-fruits-against-cardiovascular-diseases-an-overvi-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-VHRM.

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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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Selun Ilseven

Masters of Cancer Research and Precision Oncology- MSc, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Selun, with a robust foundation in genetics, cancer research, and precision oncology, she combines her extensive scientific knowledge with years of expertise in science writing, communication, and managing scientific societies.

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