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Secret Side Effects of Eating Oranges, Says Science

These tasty fruits can benefit your health from head to toe.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Whether you peel them into sections, cut them into slices, or cube them and toss them on a salad, oranges are a healthy and delicious way to load your diet with bright citrus flavor. But it's more than just your palate that will benefit from these delicious additions to your meal plan.

Not only does a single medium orange contain a full day's worth of vitamin C, but these tasty fruits can also do everything from benefit your workouts to lower your risk of certain chronic diseases. Read on to discover the secret side effects of eating oranges you never knew about. And if you want to makeover your health, check out Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.

Oranges may improve your cholesterol.

peeled mandarin orange

If you've been struggling with high cholesterol—or want to keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range—putting some oranges on your menu might just be the easiest way to achieve that goal.

A study published in Nutrition Research found that consumption of citrus fiber concentrate reduced study subjects' total serum cholesterol levels by 10.6% after just four weeks; another study published in Nutrition Research found that consumption of orange juice lowered LDL, or "bad," cholesterol over a 60-day period.

Oranges may reduce your post-workout pain.

whole orange

Want to recover more effectively from your workouts? Try adding some oranges to your regular routine. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, which may be able to fend off some of the less pleasant after-effects of workouts. According to a randomized controlled trial published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, among a group of healthy adult men given either vitamin C or a placebo who then performed repetitive exercises, those given the vitamin C reported significantly less muscle soreness within the first 24 hours of exercising.

The 6 Best Pre-Workout Foods, According to an Expert

Oranges may reduce your risk of esophageal cancer.


Oranges are an excellent source of citric acid, which may have a preventative effect against certain types of cancer. According to a 2017 study published in Cell Journal, higher concentrations of citric acid were shown to be effective at reducing the proliferation of esophageal cancer cells and causing cellular death.

Oranges may help regulate your digestion.


If you want to keep your digestion moving like clockwork, eating oranges can help. An average-sized orange contains 2.8 grams of fiber, which can help keep your digestive tract moving regularly. In fact, a 2019 study published in Drug Intervention Today found that, among a group of 30 study subjects with constipation, eating orange provided effective relief of symptoms.

Oranges may reduce your risk of a heart attack.

Sliced orange

Whether you have a family history of cardiovascular problems or simply want to prevent heart health issues down the line, adding some oranges to your menu is a smart choice for your heart.

According to A 2017 review of research published in Nutrients, in studying a group of 13,421 participants in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort for an average of 11 years, researchers found that higher vitamin C intake was associated with lower levels of both cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease-related death.

For more ways to boost your heart health, check out The Best Foods That Can Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.

Oranges may increase your risk of liver problems.

Peeling and unrolling an orange easily on a cutting board.

If you have other risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), you may want to limit your orange intake. Studies have linked high fructose consumption to the development of NAFLD, and a study published in Nutrition specifically linked consumption of raw oranges with an increased risk of NAFLD among a group of 27,214 adults studied. In fact, those who ate seven or more oranges a week had a 17% higher risk of developing NAFLD than members of the study's reference population.

And if you want to keep this vital organ healthy, make sure to ditch these Diet Habits That Are Terrible for Your Liver, According to Science.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah
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