When it comes to food, it's often true that the brighter in color a food is, the healthier it is. (Sorry, but orange-colored Cheetos don't count). For example, there are the bright green lettuce leaves that make up your salad; the bright red strawberries that are healthy to munch on throughout the day – yes, even more so, when dipped in chocolate; and, of course, the long list of orange and yellow foods that make up a good portion of our diets. These include bananas, oranges, clementines, yellow and orange peppers, peaches and more. Of these, the orange is definitely a prominent staple in our daily lives. Consider that big glass of OJ you drink first thing in the morning or the carved orange pumpkin that may appear on your doorstep every Halloween.
In other words, orange foods are definitely essential.
What Is an Orange Fruit?
Oranges are tropical fruits that are actually some of the world's most popular. There are different types of oranges, ranging from sweet to bitter. Each type belongs to the citrus family of fruits and grows on trees. In summer, orange trees thrive in temperatures between 55 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and in winter between 35 and 50 F.
The countries that grow the most orange trees are Brazil, the United States and China, with Brazil leading the way with 30 percent of the world's oranges. This isn't surprising, since oranges thrive in tropical and subtropical climates, and Brazil meets those requirements. Along with the proper climate, orange trees also need moist soil with a nitrogen fertilizer to facilitate growth.
3 Types of Oranges
1. Valencia Oranges
Valencias are a common type of orange that are widely grown around the world, although they differ in the times that they are most in season throughout the year. For example, you can typically find Valencias to buy from February until October, with the peak in July, August and September. This common orange has a sweet flavor and a delicate texture, along with a high juice content. This makes them perfect for turning into orange juice, especially in comparison to navel oranges, which become bitter 30 minutes after juicing.
2. Navel Oranges
This seedless orange is probably the one type of orange you’re most likely to see in the fruit aisle of your grocery store. Its name derives from the “navel” that can be found at the bottom end of the orange. They are grown mainly in Florida and California. Navel oranges taste sweeter than Valencia oranges and taste better when eaten fresh compared to other oranges.
3. Blood Oranges
If you've ever cracked open an orange to see a juicy red flesh, don’t panic; it hasn't gone bad. You’ve probably picked up a blood orange by accident. The reason for the red color comes from this orange’s high amount of anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid that gives certain fruits their unique color. It's believed that this coloring was the result of a mutation between the blonde oranges, Valencias and navels. While this mutation is said to have first occurred in China, Italy now produces most of the world's blood oranges. In sunny California, which also grows blood oranges, 90 percent are of the Moro variety.
List of Orange Fruits
This fuzzy fruit, which originates from China, is a member of the stone fruit family. This essentially means that it contains a large seed in the middle, much like plums, cherries and apricots. There are two different kinds of peaches: freestone and clingstone. The difference between the two is that the flesh of a clingstone peach clings to the pit, while the flesh of the freestone pulls away easily from the pit. The colors of peach flesh do vary; some are white, while others are the standard orange.
The benefits of this fuzzy fruit are vast. (Sorry, but you can’t reap them by eating the candy version called Fuzzy Peaches.) The benefits of eating peaches include improving the skin's overall appearance by helping to reverse sun damage, as well as helping those who suffer from diabetes by improving blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. A study done by Texas A&M even found that peaches can also help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.
You may have confused a tangerine for an orange at least once in your life. They do look similar, after all. A tangerine is sometimes even considered a baby orange. It also doesn't hurt that both of these fruits belong to the same citrus family. Tangerines originate from Florida, although in the 1800s, they were named "tangerine" after the city, Tangier, in Morocco.
Like oranges, tangerines also contain a high water content (85 percent), 53 calories per 100 grams and 13.3 grams of carbs. When ripe, they are very soft to the touch and are easy to peel. They taste sweet and offer several health benefits that stem mainly from the high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A, which help the body to fight inflammation.
Some people get apricots, peaches and nectarines confused due to their similar coloring and fuzzy outside texture. Not to mention the fact that they're all from the same stone fruit family. But apricots are smaller than peaches and come with their own distinct flavor that is both sweet and tart. While the origin of this orange fruit is actually unknown, 85 percent of today’s apricots grown in the United States come from California.
Types of Yellow Fruits and Vegetables
So many vegetables and fruits contain the colors of the rainbow. Next up is yellow:
- Bananas: One of the most recognizable yellow fruits is the banana. This sweet fruit is super versatile – pop it in your morning protein smoothie or serve it with some ice cream for dessert. It comes loaded with several health benefits.
In a medium-sized banana, you can expect to find 105 calories and a high dose of potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Bananas also contain a low dose of fat since they are made up of mainly water and carbs.
- Pineapple: This tropical fruit is very popular during the summer months. You can eat the ripe fruit on its own or blend pineapple chunks into a tropical cocktail. The best part is, despite being sweet, pineapples are actually low in calories. One cup of pineapple chunks has 82 calories and zero fat.
This yellow fruit supports the immune system in various ways, including helping end colds faster by reducing mucus in the throat and nose. It is also known for supporting eye health.
- Yellow bell peppers: Red bell peppers are the most purchased bell pepper out there, which begs the question: Why are yellow peppers so often overlooked? This comes down to the fact that red peppers have ripened for a longer time, causing them to have a sweeter taste and thus, a more expensive price.
But the yellow version of bell peppers is just as good and boasts a low calorie count of 27 calories in 100 grams. Its health benefits include improving eye health, providing support to those with anemia by being a good source of iron and being loaded with healthy antioxidants for the body.
How Many Calories Are in an Orange?
The number of calories in an orange depends on its size. A medium-sized orange has about 65 calories and 16 grams of carbohydrates. A large orange cut in half is about 100 grams with 47 calories and 11.8 grams of carbs. As for fats, you will be very glad to hear that oranges contain zero fats and cholesterol, making it a healthy snack to enjoy. It has only minimal amounts of protein, though, so be sure you’re getting other sources of protein in your diet.
What Are the Benefits of Eating an Orange?
- It's high in vitamin C: Oranges are a powerhouse when it comes to Vitamin C. One orange alone offers 116.2 percent of a person's daily requirement! This vitamin comes with several benefits, such as boosting the immune system and even helping to lower the risk of some cancers. It also helps you get back in the gym faster since its inflammatory properties help to decrease muscle inflammation.
- It's a good source of fiber: Fiber does a lot more than just helping us to go to the washroom regularly. It also aids in weight loss and lowering cholesterol. Problem is, a lot of us aren't getting enough fiber each day. Nine out of 10 Americans are not eating enough fiber, according to Ashvini Mashru, R.D., L.D.N., author of "Small Steps to Slim," as told to SELF.
Luckily, just one large orange can help fix that. It contains about 18 percent of the allotted amount of fiber we're supposed to be consuming, according to Reference Daily Intake.
- It contains potassium: Like bananas, oranges contain a good dose of potassium. They have around 181 mg. This is a good start, since eating foods with potassium everyday can help lower blood pressure. This, in turn, reduces the risk of other heart-related issues, such as heart attacks and heart disease.
What Happens if You Eat an Orange Everyday?
While an apple a day is said to keep the doctor away, you might be wondering: What happens if I eat an orange everyday? Good news: some pretty amazing things can happen.
For starters, not only is an orange a delicious fruit to snack on daily, but its health benefits are an added perk. They reduce the chances of a stroke, assist in weight loss, promote healthier skin and help keep our blood vessels healthy. Eating oranges daily also helps with the long-term health of our eyesight. Oranges contain a ton of vitamin C, which reduces your risk of eye-related health issues, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, a condition that is related to age. Eating oranges daily now can help prevent this.
- Home Guides SF Gate: In What Climate Do Oranges Grow?
- Very Well Fit: Orange Nutrition Facts
- Self: 10 Foods That Have More Vitamin C Than an Orange
- Stack: 7 Unbelievable Benefits of Eating an Orange Every Day
- Healthline: Oranges 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
- World Atlas: Top Orange Producing Countries in the World
- Medical News Today: Health Benefits of Peaches
- The Kitchn: What’s the Difference Between Freestone and Clingstone Peaches?
- Food Forward: Fruit of the Month: Blood Orange
- Hale Groves: What’s the Difference Between Navel Oranges and Valencia Oranges?
- Wonderful Citrus: Valencias
- Healthline: Tangerines vs. Oranges: How Are They Different?
- Gardening Know How: Varieties of Orange Fruit: Learn About Different Types of Oranges
- Healthline: 11 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Bananas
- My Recipes: What's the Difference Between a Peach and an Apricot?
- Live Science: Pineapple: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts
- Tasting Table: The Difference Between Red, Yellow and Green Peppers
- Healthline: Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.