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Orange You Glad You Drink Calcium?

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Nutritional Benefits of Oranges
Don and Peggy Doman

.When we traveled to Italy and Spain with friends I gained an appreciation for freshly squeezed blood orange juice. I love blood orange juice which is obtained from a mutation of the sweet oranges usually mixed for orange juice. I have neither the patience to squeeze oranges myself, nor the inclination to spend money on one of the popular juicers. However, my two favorite breakfast restaurants have one of those contraptions where oranges are loaded onto a wire trough and are automatically squeezed. When we go there for breakfast our favorite waitress knows the routine. We order large glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice. I drink mine in seconds and then finish off Peg's glass later in the meal.

Concentrated orange juice is about 65% sugar by weight, so don't think you can drink tons of O.J. and be really healthy. All that sugar is not conducive to good weight control or tooth health. Orange juice from concentrate is a combination of orange varieties producing a very tasty juice and it's usually enriched with vitamin C to replace nutrients lost in processing and pasteurization. Some producers add omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils along with calcium and vitamin D to orange juice. Read the labels to make sure you are getting both taste and nutrients.

.Oranges are a carotenoid, a superfood. Scientific study results suggest that diets high in carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables (those generally containing yellow, orange, and red pigments), like oranges, carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes, spinach, and sweet potatoes are associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The Linus Pauling Institute (LPI) recommends that "Carotenoids are best absorbed with fat in a meal. Chopping, puréeing, and cooking carotenoid-containing vegetables in oil generally increase the bioavailability of the carotenoids they contain."

I don't recommend frying oranges, but they are great in chutney served with roast pork or chicken. Orange zest (scrapings of the peel) is a great way to .use oranges in salads, side dishes, and desserts. Peg likes to flavor fish and vegetable dishes with orange, lemon and lime zest. One of our favorite meals in Tuscany was fresh pasta with a simple sauce contained citrus zest. So simple and yet so good, it had subtle tastes and refreshment all in one.

Children and teenagers who don't receive enough calcium in their diets may not achieve maximum bone development. Achieving peak bone mass may affect people from adulthood through old age. One danger for older adults is osteoporosis. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced to such low levels that it can lead to an increased risk of bone fracture. Including calcium in our diet is beneficial, but supplements can fill in the missing .amounts and are recommended. (See the LPI multivitamin/mineral recommendations.

Jane Higdon, Ph.D. a research associate at LPI writing in her article "Preventing Osteoporosis through Diet and Lifestyle" says, "An 8-ounce serving of calcium-fortified orange juice or nonfat milk or yogurt provides about 300 mg of calcium. Most calcium supplements, including calcium carbonate, are best absorbed when taken with food, but calcium citrate and calcium citrate malate are also well-absorbed on an empty stomach. Total daily calcium intake (diet plus supplements) should add up to 1,300 mg for teenagers, 1,000 mg for adults 50 years of age or younger, or 1,200 mg for adults over the age of 50."

.LPI has a great youth program at Oregon State University. Here is simple Orange Popsicle recipe featuring orange juice and yogurt that children will enjoy . . . I certainly do.

An egg salad with whole grain bread, fresh spinach and other greens, along with orange zest is a great with to start a meal. Orange marmalade (orange jam with orange zest) spread on whole grain toast (like that baked by Roman Meal) or mixed in plain yoghurt, adds both flavor and texture. Sliced or quartered fresh oranges are a great snack and one of our favorite desserts - a nice way to finish a meal.

c. 2013 -

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