7 Unique Benefits of Blood Oranges
By Rachael Link, MS, RD on July 14, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition
Blood oranges are citrus fruits often known for their vibrant color and dark, crimson flesh.
They get their unique hue from certain compounds known as anthocyanins, including chrysanthemin (1Trusted Source).
Thanks to rich reserves of essential antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, this flavorful fruit has even been linked to several powerful health benefits.
Here are 7 potential benefits of blood oranges, along with a few tips on adding them to your diet.
1. Rich in nutrients
Blood oranges are low in calories but high in the fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body craves.
One blood orange contains (2Trusted Source):
- Calories: 69
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.6 grams
- Carbs: 15 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Blood oranges also boast high amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential micronutrient that acts as an antioxidant and plays a key role in your immune function (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Like other citrus fruits, blood oranges provide many other vitamins and minerals essential to your health. These include (5Trusted Source):
- B vitamins
Additionally, blood oranges contain several antioxidant compounds, such as (6Trusted Source):
- hydroxycinnamic acid
- caffeic acid
- ferulic acid
- coumaric acid
Blood oranges are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and several other key vitamins and minerals.
2. May promote weight loss
Blood oranges may be a great addition to a healthy weight loss diet.
Not only are blood oranges low in calories, they’re also high in fiber, with 3 grams in each serving (2Trusted Source).
Fiber passes through the digestive tract very slowly, helping you stay full longer by prolonging the digestion in your stomach (7Trusted Source).
Some research also suggests that adding more citrus fruits to your diet may be beneficial for weight loss, if that’s your goal.
A 24-year study including more than 133,000 adults associated eating more citrus fruits with increased weight loss (8Trusted Source).
Another review of 13 studies concluded that citrus fruits and their extracts may be effective in losing weight (9Trusted Source).
Blood oranges are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help increase feelings of fullness. Some research also shows that eating more citrus fruits may be beneficial for weight loss.
3. May support healthy pregnancy
Blood oranges contain several nutrients that are important for promoting proper growth and development during your pregnancy.
Folate, for example, is necessary to prevent neural tube defects and other birth defects (10Trusted Source).
Vitamin C is also crucial during pregnancy. One study in 1,138 women reported that increased intake of vitamin C or fruits and vegetables mid-pregnancy was linked to improved fetal and infant growth up to 6 months of age (11Trusted Source).
Additionally, fiber may help prevent several issues during pregnancy, including diabetes, constipation, and preeclampsia (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted SourceTrusted Source).
Interestingly enough, some studies have also found that eating more citrus fruits during pregnancy may also be beneficial for children later in life.
For instance, one study showed that children of mothers who ate more citrus fruits during pregnancy were less likely to experience hyperactivity and emotional and behavioral concerns during childhood (14Trusted Source).
Blood oranges contain several nutrients that are important during pregnancy. Eating more citrus fruits while pregnant may also be beneficial for children later in life.
4. May boost immune function
With a hearty dose of vitamin C packed into each serving, blood oranges may help ramp up immune function, protecting you from illness and infection.
In fact, studies show that supplementing your diet with vitamin C may help reduce the duration of upper respiratory infections, diminish their severity, and even improve outcomes for severe infections (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
Plus, blood oranges contain a variety of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that may help neutralize harmful free radicals to reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage in your body.
What’s more, antioxidants may also protect you against many chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Blood oranges are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which can support immune health.
5. May improve gut health
Blood oranges are a great source of fiber, boasting nearly 3 grams in a single serving (2Trusted Source).
Fiber can soften and add bulk to stool — this promotes your regularity and prevents constipation (7Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Fiber may also be beneficial for the treatment of several other conditions, including hemorrhoids and diverticulitis (7Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Adding more fiber into your diet can also help improve the health of the gut microbiome, which is the community of beneficial bacteria found in your digestive tract (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
Research shows that the gut microbiome plays a key role in many aspects of health, including digestion, immune function, heart health, and more (23Trusted Source).
Blood oranges are a good source of fiber, which can promote regularity and enhance the health of the gut microbiome.
6. May have cancer-fighting properties
Blood oranges are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants like chrysanthemin, the compound that gives the fruit its distinct color.
In one test-tube study, chrysanthemin prevented the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells (24Trusted Source).
Other antioxidants found in blood oranges have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects, including caffeic, ferulic, and coumaric acids (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted SourceTrusted Source). It’s important to note, however, that these findings were in test tube studies of cell, and more studies including humans are needed.
Studies also show that eating more citrus fruits may be associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer, including lung, stomach, and oral cancers (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Still, more studies are needed to understand how blood oranges may affect cancer development in humans when eaten in typical amounts.
Some of the compounds found in blood oranges have been shown to decrease cancer cell growth in test tube studies. Eating more citrus fruits may also be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
7. Versatile and delicious
Blood oranges have a slightly sweet, tart, and tangy flavor that works well in a variety of recipes.
From cakes and panna cottas to ice creams and sorbets, blood oranges make a great addition to many desserts.
You can also use blood oranges to brighten up salads or add a tasty twist to cocktails, juices, and mixed drinks.
Alternatively, you can try using blood oranges in dressings and salsas for an extra burst of flavor and nutrients.
Similar to other citrus fruits, blood oranges can also be enjoyed as a simple snack on the go. Just peel them and enjoy!
Blood oranges have a unique flavor that can be enjoyed on its own or added to a variety of recipes.
The bottom line
Blood oranges are highly nutritious and contain several important vitamins and minerals, including fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
They may also be linked to many health benefits, including weight loss, improved gut health, and better immune function.
Plus, this citrus fruit is simply delicious. You can enjoy its unique flavor in a variety of recipes.
Just one thing
Try this today: I love adding blood oranges to salads, alongside other ingredients like avocado, grapefruit, or mint. They can help balance out the bitter, earthy taste of dark leafy greens while also bringing a pop of color to your plate.
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