Oranges are very popular fruits worldwide. Not only do oranges have a unique taste, they can be found in great abundance and varieties, and oranges have many health benefits.
One of the most popular of the orange varietals is the citrus sinensis, also known as the Navel Orange. When a naval orange is peeled, there is a partially formed, undeveloped conjoined “twin” fruit on the blossom end. From the outside, the blossom end looks like a human navel. Navel oranges are seedless, and the flesh is naturally very sweet and juicy.
One of the interesting facts about navel oranges is that technically every navel orange is a clone which comes from the same orange tree from a Brazilian plantation almost 200 years ago. The tree generated spontaneous mutations, and people started cultivating navel oranges in other regions. Because navel oranges are seedless, they can only be cultivated through cuttings and grafted onto fresh stock for expansion and to ensure that the orchard stays healthy. Today in the United States navel oranges are grown primarily in Arizona, California and Florida and are considered a very important industry.
Among their many health benefits, naval oranges are very high in fiber which helps improve cholesterol ratios in the body. Fiber helps regulate sugar levels in the blood, aids in preventing colon cancer. But navel oranges are perhaps best known for their main nutritional ingredient, the antioxidant vitamin C.
The human body does not naturally produce vitamin C on its own. Millions of people drink orange juice from navel oranges everyday in the morning as a source of vitamin C as well as to enjoy the taste of this sweet, refreshing fruit. Vitamin C not only helps boost the human immune system, but it also aids in healing wounds, helps the body absorb iron and prevents heart disease. Beta-carotene, which helps prevent cell damage, is another antioxidant that can be found in navel oranges.
Depending on your region, you can find fresh navel oranges from winter through late spring. When you buy navel oranges at the market, make sure you pick out the oranges that are heavy for their size and that don’t have any soft spots or pitting. In some areas of the United States, you can also grow navel oranges yourself, and navel orange trees can often be found nurseries along with other types of citrus fruits. Most citrus trees have aromatic flowers that can be used for a variety of purposes in addition to yielding delicious, nutritious edible fruit.