Fruits and vegetables are an important staple in any diet. While a diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables is best, orange is one of the healthiest colors you can look for.
Orange vegetables contain beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A, which is great for eyesight and eliminating free radicals. The beta-carotene gives the vegetable its orange color and is the precursor to Vitamin A creation. A deficiency of vitamin A can result in symptoms like:
- dry eyes
- night blindness
- a buildup of keratin on the conjunctiva, and
- in severe cases even total vision loss!
You can see the importance of including fruits and vegetables with beta carotene into your dietary routine. The good news is that it’s easy to find. On your next shopping trip be sure to include some orange produce in your basket.
Some of the healthiest orange fruits and vegetables are sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, carrots, mangos, oranges and papaya. These fruits and vegetables are great sources of nutrients and usually have a sweet flavor, making them ideal for satisfying those cravings for sweets.
Let’s look at why these top 7 orange fruits and vegetables are so incredibly healthy.
Time to Get Your Beta Carotene!
Sweet Potatoes are one of the best orange foods. Part of the root family, they have huge amounts of beta-carotene, manganese, copper, fiber, B6, potassium, iron and just about anything else you think you could possibly pack into a small potato-like case.
Here are some interesting facts you might not know about sweet potatoes:
- Sweet potatoes are known to help stomach ulcers and inflamed conditions of the colon.
- Sweet potatoes appear to play a part in preventing cancer in certain organs and glands due to its high Vitamin A content.
- Due to the high content of Vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes help remove free radicals which damage cells.
- Sweet potatoes are great for people with diabetes because they help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- According to Dr. Axe, one medium sweet potato can meet and exceed your daily vitamin A needs. In fact, if you can squeeze even just one-fourth of a sweet potato into your diet, you’re set for the entire day.
Squash & Pumpkin
These two foods are closely related, and actually come from the same family of vegetables, known as squash. They’re loaded with fiber as well as beta-carotene.
- The squash family of vegetables is great at fighting off cancer, especially lung cancer, reducing the risk of heart disease and aiding in fighting against type-2 diabetes.
- Pumpkins specifically are great for urinary tract support and aid in the function of the kidneys. Years ago, pumpkin seed oil was even used to treat burns and wounds.
- Summer is a great time to experiment with the wide variety of squash available. Just slice it, drizzle some oil and seasoning on it and throw it on the grill.
What’s up Doc? Carrots are one of the richest vegetable source for beta-carotene. They reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, help prevent macular degeneration, and help control insulin levels to those with diabetes.
- While cooking foods typically removes some of their nutrients, this isn’t so with carrots. Lightly cooking them actually helps to release the carotenes, which are otherwise trapped.
- Fun Fact: Did you know that carrots aren’t always orange? They also come in purple, white, yellow and red.
Let’s move on to those juicy, sweet vision protecting fruits:
Mangoes are high in iron and help fight against anemia and reduce kidney problems, fever, and respiratory problems. They can even relieve clogged pores of the skin.
Here are some additional facts about mangoes that you may not have known:
- Mangoes contain the antioxidant called zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin works to filter out harmful blue light rays which may help protect us from macular degeneration as we age.
- The beta carotene found in mangoes helps to keep our immune systems healthy while battling free radicals that damage our bodies.
- A trivial pursuit moment: What do mangoes, cashews and pistachios have in common? They are all part of the same family!
Oranges, the typical orange fruit, is not so typical when you take a closer look.
- Because of the vitamins and antioxidants in an orange, they’ve been proven to help with asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, prevention of kidney stones, high blood pressure, arthritis and diabetes.
- Oranges offer some protection to the eyes’ membrane lining and may be useful in promoting vision and maintaining eye health since it is full of beta carotene and flavanoids.
- Oranges eaten in larger amounts can even decrease a runny nose.
Papaya contains digestive enzymes, which help break down some of the more difficult foods in our stomach, such as beans, dairy, and even meat. Due to the high fiber content, papaya also helps with constipation and even upset stomach.
- The one thing papaya has been known for around the world is its ability to prevent nausea, including morning and motion sickness if taken in the juice form.
- It is an excellent treat for diabetics — although papayas have a sweet taste they actually are low on sugar!
- Papaya is rich in Vitamin A so your eyes will get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Orange Your Way To Good Health
Orange fruits and vegetables are a great way to battle off illness and disease. Combine them with a few servings of dark green vegetables and you have yourself a winning combination. In addition to the amazing orange family of fruits and vegetables, you can find beta carotene in green leafy vegetables so don’t forget to toss a few of those in your cart too!