It’s sad that LA County no longer has the vast number of citrus groves it once possessed. So-called “progress” over the past few decades has obliterated literally tons of oranges as well as lemons, grapefruits, etc., to make way for ugly apartment buildings, plazas, freeways and whatnot. That’s right–destroy food and a natural source of healthy nutrients to bring in more crowds, pollution and eyesores.
Aside from the usual concept with which most are familiar–that is, oranges are a great source of Vitamin C–what good are these fruits, specifically? The trees, for a beginning point, provide shade, oxygen production, a source of honey (important not only nutritionally but for wound-healing), shelter for birds and animals, and soil erosion prevention. Can strip malls claim any of that?
Vitamin C, to be sure, is a vital anti-oxidant, battling aging, cancer, and is a good immunity booster. Without this nutrient, you’d also develop scurvy–once the fate of sailors, rendering them sickly, and afflicting them with gum disease and loose teeth.
Oranges also have the benefits of possessing antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. If it weren’t for the antioxidants they provide, cuts would take longer to heal. Additionally, their folic acid (or folate) content is essential during pregnancy, to ward off a birth defect known as spina bifida (see http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/c.liKWL7PLLrF/b.2700277/k.2112/Folic_Acid.htm).
Other nutrients found in oranges include potassium, fiber, Vitamin A, and even calcium–yes, despite the “with calcium added” varieties of OJ currently being sold, this fruit comes with its own supply! The benefits aren’t confined only to the juice and pulp, either: even the white underside of the peel has a flavonoid known as herperidin (see http://www.vaxa.com/antioxidants-herperidin.cfm), which has been found to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
All in all, LA needs oranges, not only for the local economy and tourism, but for an inexpensive health-fix for our residents. How many problems could easily be remedied if everyone ate an orange or drank a glass of orange juice daily? Couldn’t this be promoted in schools, health clinics, cafeterias, restaurants? Oranges are more beneficial than apples! This would make a terrific local slogan: “an orange a day makes a healthier LA”!
For more information including research and studies on oranges’ medicinal qualities, see http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=37.