Oranges And Mental Wellness

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Mental health represents a significant part of our well-being. It affects how we think, act, feel, and interact with others. We should all strive to achieve mental wellness as it can not only allow you to handle stress and build significant connections, but is also essential for overcoming obstacles, being positive in hard times, and feeling and loving yourself, which should be among our biggest priorities.

There are many strategies that can help you do so, including being physically active, socialising, and learning new skills.1 Apart from these, nutrition has also been shown to help immensely. Indeed, having a balanced diet which ensures that you get all the nutrients you need is one of the main ways where you can improve your mental wellness.2 There are many different foods and each of them has its own nutritional values and benefits.

However, some of them are particularly beneficial. As an example, this article will introduce you to the benefits and the impact that oranges can have in your mental wellness. Furthermore, hopefully, this article will make you reflect about the importance of mental health and will guide you towards having a more balanced diet that can help you to improve this and make you feel better!

Nutritional value of oranges

Oranges are well-known for their high vitamin C content, but it doesn’t end there: they are rich in other nutrients, each of which have their own properties and benefits.3 According to the US Department of Agriculture, oranges are composed of a high percentage of water, almost 87%, and their energy value is 47 kcal or 197 kJ.

They have almost no fat, only 0.12%. There are 53 mg of Vitamin C per 100 g of oranges. Apart from this, oranges are rich in dietary fibre (2.4%) and in antioxidants other than vitamin C, such as vitamin E (0.18 mg/100g) and carotenoids.4 The specific benefits that these nutrients can have on our mental wellness will be explored in the following sections.

Vitamin C and mood

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can have many benefits to our organism. Indeed, vitamin C can help to protect our organism from free radicals produced as a result of, for instance, exposure to tobacco smoke.5 Regarding our mental wellness, it might surprise you but vitamin C has impact on our brain.6 Studies have shown that individuals experiencing a deficiency in vitamin C frequently experience feelings of depression and low mood.

Furthermore, both individuals with vitamin C deficiency and those with normal vitamin C levels can experience mood enhancement through administration of ascorbic acid. Moreover, even though more research is needed, some studies suggested that vitamin C might even be able to lower anxiety levels in patients.6 The benefits of vitamin C seem pretty clear, but how does this vitamin contribute to all this?

Well, apparently, ascorbic acid is able to regulate mood because it regulates the synthesis or release of chemicals such as serotonin, also known as the happy chemical, which are essential for neuromodulation and maintaining mental wellness. Furthermore, vitamin C is thought to promote the differentiation and maturation of neurons, which might also have an impact on our mental wellness.7

Antioxidants and stress reduction

As previously noted, antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids are found in oranges. These substances protect the body from free radicals, which can be generated not only through exposure to tobacco smoke, but also due to factors like air pollution and sunlight. Antioxidants play a crucial role in countering oxidative stress, a condition resulting from the excessive buildup of free radicals, linked to the development of chronic diseases. The following question arises: how does the mitigation of oxidation contribute to mental well-being?

Oxidative damage extends its impact to the brain, potentially causing dysfunction in the nervous system. Notably, there is a connection between oxidative stress and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Consequently, it is evident that diminishing oxidative stress can serve as a preventive measure against the onset of mental health disorders, safeguarding overall mental well-being.

Fibre and gut-brain connection

Your gut and your brain are connected. You might be surprised to hear this but, actually, you have probably experienced or heard of many examples that prove this. For instance, have you ever heard of the expression “to feel butterflies in the stomach”?

Well, it suggests a relationship between your stomach and your emotions. Sadness, anxiety, anger, and so forth, can all lead to symptoms related to your gut such as feeling nauseous or having a stomachache. Indeed, the relationship is bidirectional, meaning that not only can your emotions trigger symptoms in your gut, but your gut health can also have a positive or negative impact on your mental wellness.10

In this way, in order to enhance mental wellness, it is essential to have a healthy gut too. Nutrients that can help with this include dietary fibre, for which, as mentioned, oranges are a great source. The main way in which fibre supports a healthy gut is by normalising bowel movements and reducing the chance of constipation. Furthermore, dietary fibre seems to lower the risk of haemorrhoids, diverticular disease, and colorectal cancer.11

Incorporating oranges to diet

Based on all the benefits that oranges have, you might be considering adding more oranges to your diet. The three most common ways of doing this are to eat oranges on their own, to have orange juices, or to add slices of orange to salads or drinks. However, oranges can be consumed in other ways. The following list will include some recipe ideas and creative ways to consume oranges that might help you to add oranges to your diet without getting bored of them:

  • Roast duck a l’orange: a classic and delish duck dish containing orange and a sauce made of red wine, onions, oranges, and cornflour that can be served along with fried or mashed potatoes and vegetables12
  • Spanish “ensalada malagueña”: this salad, originary from Malaga, is not very well-known outside of Spain. This recipe contains potato, salt cod or tuna, olives,extra virgin olive oil, boiled eggs, onions and oranges, which make this salad completely delicious13
  • Prawn salad with orange, red onion and avocado: as simple as it can seem, with one orange per person cut into slices, this recipe is incredibly distinctive and enjoyable14
  • Mary berry’s orange cake: even though making a cake might seem more hard to make than the rest of recipes, this orange layer cake is worth it and it only takes 35 minutes to make it!15


Having a balanced diet is essential for mental wellness. As we have seen throughout this article, oranges are an excellent food source of water, fibre, antioxidants, and especially, vitamin C. These are really beneficial for our physical health but also for our mental wellness as they can help to lower anxiety, regulate mood, and prevent mental health disorders such as depression.

Furthermore, they can promote differentiation and maturation of neurons and can enhance gut health which, due to the gut-brain connection, is directly linked to mental wellness. With all this, there is no doubt that you should consider adding oranges to your daily fruits and using these as a part of your mental wellness strategy!


  1. NHS. 5 steps to mental health wellbeing [Internet]. NHS. 2022 [cited 2023 October 2]. Available from:
  2. Selhub E. Nutritional psychiatry: your brain on food [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2022 [cited 2023 October 2]. Available from:
  3. USDA. Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2019 [cited 2023 October 2]. Available from:
  4. Ali SS, Ahsan H, Zia MK, Siddiqui T, Khan FH. Understanding oxidants and antioxidants: Classical team with new players. Journal of food biochemistry. 2020 Mar;44(3):e13145.
  5. MayoClinic. Vitamin C [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2023 [cited 2023 October 3]. Available from:,disease%2C%20cancer%20and%20other%20disease
  6. Brauer B. Do the benefits of vitamin C include improved mood? [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2022 [cited 2023 October 3]. Available from:,after%20they%20received%20vitamin%20C
  7. Sim M, Hong S, Jung S, Kim JS, Goo YT, Chun WY, Shin DM. Vitamin C supplementation promotes mental vitality in healthy young adults: results from a cross-sectional analysis and a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. European journal of nutrition. 2022 Feb;61(1):447-59.
  8. Antioxidants [Internet]. Harvard School of Public Health [cited 2023 October 3]. Available from:
  9. Bouayed J, Rammal H, Soulimani R. Oxidative stress and anxiety: relationship and cellular pathways. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity. 2009 Apr 1;2:63-7.
  10. The gut-brain connection [Internet]. Harvard Health Publishing. 2023 [cited 2023 October 4]. Available from:
  11. MayoClinic. Dietary fiber: essential for a healthy diet [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2022 [cited 2023 October 4]. Available from:,decreasing%20your%20chance%20of%20constipation.
  12. The Hairy Bikers. Duck a l’orange recipe [Internet]. BBC [cited 2023 October 4]. Available from:
  13. The BEST salad you’ve probably never had [Internet]. Spain on a fork. 2022 [cited 2023 October 4]. Available from:
  14. Prawn salad with orange, red onion & avocado recipe [Internet]. BBC Good Food. 2012 [cited 2023 October 4]. Available from:
  15. Mary Berry’s orange cake recipe [Internet]. BBC Good Food. 2013 [cited 2023 October 4]. Available from:

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Susana Nuevo Bonastre

Bachelor of Pharmacology – BSc, University of Manchester

Susana is a pharmacologist with strong organizational and communication skills and a special interest in medical writing. For her final year at the University of Manchester, she did a project in science communication, for which she developed an e-learning resource to increase awareness of Major Depressive Disorder. Susana is currently finishing a taught Master’s in neuroscience and psychology of mental health at King’s College. Susana has experience as a mentor and as a medical writer at Klarity Health and, even though she is specially interested in mental health and psychopharmacology, she has also written articles related to nutrition and different diseases.

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