Which is better… apples or oranges? Discover the Unique Benefits of Each Fruit

The adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is well-known, but does this wisdom extend to oranges as well? Are they similarly beneficial?

Apples and oranges rank among the most beloved and widely consumed fruits globally. However, when comparing their nutritional value and health benefits, which one emerges as the superior choice for daily consumption, or should one include both in their diet?

Apple nutrients

Apples are rich in quercetin, a potent antioxidant found in various foods like grapes, berries, cherries, onions, broccoli, citrus fruits, legumes, green tea, and coffee. This compound offers significant health advantages, including lowering the risk of chronic diseases and boosting the immune system.

The US Department of Agriculture states that a medium-sized apple, approximately 180 grams, delivers around 14% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Additionally, it contains:

  • 25 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 4.4 grams of fiber.
  • 95 calories.
  • Less than 1 gram each of protein and fat.

However, they supply modest amounts of other crucial nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, and the B-group vitamins.

Apples benefits

Studies suggest that adding apples to your diet could lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, besides aiding in weight loss and improving gut and brain health, according to Vandana Sheth, a certified dietitian based in California.

Rothenstein affirms that consuming apples can bolster heart health. This benefit likely stems from apples’ rich composition of both soluble and insoluble fibers, alongside antioxidants—quercetin, in particular. These components facilitate cardiovascular improvement by lowering detrimental cholesterol levels and diminishing inflammation. This assertion is supported by a 2020 study titled “The Effect of Eating Two Apples a Day on Harmful Cholesterol Levels,” which highlights the positive impacts of regular apple consumption on heart health.

Apples are notably high in fiber, supplying approximately 16% of the daily recommended fiber intake. This includes soluble fiber, essential for nourishing beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

Consuming apples contributes to increased satiety, promotes weight loss, reduces blood sugar levels, and improves the functioning of the digestive system.

How to choose the right apples

On the topic of selecting the best apples, Mira Ilitch, a certified nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic, advises, “Apples are incredible for your health, and consuming one daily offers numerous benefits. However, the key is to opt for fresh apples, as they typically have a pleasant aroma. Older apples lack nutritional value, have an inferior taste, and could potentially be spoiled.”

“Select a firm apple free from bruises, opting for ones with vibrant natural colors. It’s advisable to choose apples sourced locally as much as possible. Apples that have traveled long distances are more prone to losing their nutritional value during transport,” she recommends.

Orange ingredients

Similar to apples, oranges are packed with essential nutrients. However, they surpass apples by offering nearly 100% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, alongside vitamin A, according to Rothenstein.

As per the United States Department of Agriculture, a single orange weighing 140 grams comprises:

  • 14.8 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 2.8 grams of fiber.
  • 66 calories.
  • 1.3 grams of protein.
  • 0.2 grams of fat.
  • 86% water content.
  • 12 grams of sugar.

It provides about:

  • 92% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.
  • 9% of folic acid.
  • 5% of both calcium and potassium.

The benefits of oranges

Beyond their rich content of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds like flavonoids and carotenoids, studies suggest that regularly consuming citrus fruits, such as oranges, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Moreover, they support immune system health, aid in collagen production, and enhance iron absorption.

Research suggests that diets abundant in citrus fruits can lower the risk of various cancers and prevent anemia by improving the body’s iron absorption capabilities.

Oranges are excellent for weight management due to their low calorie count and high fiber content, which promotes satiety and curbs overeating. Moreover, the natural sugars they contain serve as a healthy energy source.

How to choose the right oranges

Rothenstein recommends selecting oranges with firm, smooth skin and no evident wrinkles or patches of discoloration. He advises buyers to avoid picking ones with soft spots or any bruises.

Look for oranges that feel plump, heavy, and solid when held in your palm. This characteristic indicates that the fruit is full of juice. Additionally, one should inspect their stem; a green or brown stem suggests freshness, while a black one indicates an old orange.

Apples and oranges are healthy partners

Dr. Theresa Fung, an assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard TH, highlights the importance of diversity in fruit consumption due to varying nutritional profiles. “No single fruit offers every nutrient, making it crucial to include a variety of fruits in your diet for optimal health,” she advises.

Nutrition experts highlight that despite the distinct flavors and textures of apples and oranges, both play a crucial role in a balanced diet. Vandana Sheth recommends incorporating them into our meals to enhance health and prevent illnesses. She emphasizes that variety is crucial to nutrition, noting that every fruit offers unique health benefits.

Apples and oranges, rich in natural sugars and low in phosphorus, play a crucial role in maintaining kidney health.

Despite the variations in nutritional content and health-boosting properties between them – with apples being a richer source of quercetin and oranges offering more vitamin C – Rothenstein advocates for combining them in one’s diet as the optimal strategy to obtain a diverse range of nutrients and enhance heart health.

Apples are one point ahead of oranges

From a nutritional standpoint, it’s worth noting that apples are exceptionally convenient for individuals who are always on the move. They serve as an excellent snack option for on-the-go eating due to their portability and the simple prerequisite of washing them for optimal benefit. While oranges can also be a healthy choice, they tend to be very juicy, making them challenging to consume or juice when you’re out.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that both apples and oranges are fantastic sources of nutrition, with numerous health benefits. It’s essential to incorporate a variety of fruits into your diet to reap all the nutritional benefits each fruit has to offer. So whether it’s apple or orange, enjoy them in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet for optimal health outcomes. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but adding an orange to your daily intake can help keep you healthy and thriving too! So go ahead and add both these delicious fruits to your diet for a diverse range of nutrients and health benefits. And next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure to stock up on fresh apples and oranges for a healthy and delicious treat.

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