Orange vegetables get vibrant colour from beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin A supports our eyesight, regulates our immune system and keeps our skin healthy. Orange vegetables also contain other health-promoting nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fibre, lycopene and flavonoids. Brightly coloured foods contain phytonutrients (or ‘plant nutrients’) which can help prevent disease.
Orange foods are often associated with various health benefits due to their unique nutritional profile. Here are some reasons why orange foods are considered healthy:
- High in Antioxidants: Many orange-coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, certain cancers, and age-related macular degeneration.
- Excellent Source of Vitamin C: Orange foods like oranges, mangoes, and papayas are known for their high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system, collagen synthesis, and antioxidant protection. It also helps with iron absorption and supports wound healing.
- Beta-Carotene-Rich: Orange-colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin contain high amounts of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant and is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is essential for vision, healthy skin, immune function, and growth.
- Fibre Content: Many orange foods are a good source of dietary fibre. Fibre helps promote healthy digestion, aids in weight management and may reduce the risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Examples of fibre-rich orange foods include oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash.
- Hydration Support: Some orange fruits, such as oranges and cantaloupes, have high water content, which can contribute to proper hydration. Staying hydrated is important for overall health and helps maintain optimal bodily functions.
- Phytochemicals: Orange foods often contain various phytochemicals, including flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds have been associated with potential health benefits, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting overall well-being.
It’s worth noting that while orange foods offer numerous health benefits, a balanced and varied diet that includes foods from different colour groups is essential for optimal nutrition. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet to ensure you benefit from a wide range of nutrients and phytochemicals.