Orange is a citrus fruit, of various species of trees of the Family Rutaceae or hybrids of it. Therefore, there are several types, mainly blood orange and bitter orange. It is the fourth most cultivated fruit in the world.
Bitter orange (Sour Orange), Seville orange, Bigarade orange, or Marmalade orange
Among these varieties, the most familiar to us in the United States is the sweet orange. Less known, the bitter orange and Seville orange, are seldom consumed fresh. They are mostly used in traditional medicine, and in sauces, syrups and jellies. The flowers of sour orange, as well as its immature fruits, are especially aromatic. They are used in perfumery and in the preparation of many dishes and liqueurs. But this article is about orange and cancer treatment; let’s remain focus.
Orange Juice and Cancer Prevention
Orange juice contains high antioxidant content, 56% to 77% come from the vitamin C of the juice. Consumption in its natural form considerably increases the concentration of vitamin C in the blood and thus participates in the reduction of oxidative stress. This would help to prevent certain chronic conditions such as different types of cancers. Furthermore, researchers found that a low intake of orange and other fruits rich in vitamin C can lead to poorer lung function in some children.
Among important nutrients contained orange that help fight cancer includes Flavonoids, Limonoids, Carotenoids, and Citric acid.
Orange contains different types of flavonoids. The body uses these antioxidant compounds to neutralize the free radicals and thereby prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other chronic diseases. Hesperetin is the main flavonoid in orange. It is found in large quantities in the white part of the skin and membranes of the fruit, as well as in smaller concentration in the juice and the seeds. In addition, the fruit also contains Naringenin.
Naringenin is a flavonoid also presents in orange, but orange juice contains about 5 times less than hesperetin. Nevertheless, concentrate orange juice would contains more flavonoids than fresh orange juice, the fact that industrial milling methods using the whole fruit. Bigarade, in the other hand, contains mainly naringenin, but also of hesperetin and eriocitrin. These free radical scavengers work together to make it difficult for cancer cells to develop or reproduce.
According to various studies conducted in humans and in animals, hesperetin and its metabolites may inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, improve endothelial function (elasticity of blood vessels), and decrease blood pressure, triglycerides and blood cholesterol. In humans, the researchers observed inverse relationship between consumption of flavonoids and the incidence of chronic diseases. Studies also show citrus flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties. They inhibit the synthesis and activity of certain mediators involved in inflammation which tumor tumors needs to form and grow.
Some Anticancer Nutrients of Orange
The two main limonoids contained citrus fruits are the limonene and nomiline. They are found mainly in the seeds, but also in the juice. Depending on their type, they are tasteless, thus unable to cause the bitter taste of the fruit. According to some studies, Limonine, and other limonoids present in citrus juices, would, lower blood cholesterol in animals.
The two compounds could also result in apoptosis of neuroblastoma cancer cells. Other studies suggest that citrus limonoids could prevent some types of cancer in animals. For example, obacunone, a type of limonoid, proved effective in reducing the incidence of colon cancer and to decrease the number of cancers in the mouth. However, there is currently no data on a similar effect in humans. The synergistic action of several limonoids between themselves or with other compounds (such as flavonoids) could accentuate their action on cancer cells, causing them to commit suicide.
Orange contains significant quantities of various carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, a powerful natural antioxidant that protects the eyes and some other organs. Consumption of foods rich in carotenoids is linked to a lower risk for several diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, although some studies on the subject are controversial.
Oranges also contain Beta Cryptoxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that prevents free radicals from damaging healthy cells and their DNA. An epidemiological study has shown that the greater the consumption of this type of carotenoid is, the lower would be the risk of suffering from inflammatory disease. To get the beneficial effects, the scientists recommend about one glass (about 250 ml) of orange juice per day.
The concentration of citric acid in orange juice is high, about 10 mg per gram of juice; its consumption alkalizes urine. According to a study, drinking 2 cups (500 mL) of orange juice caused, in women, alkalinization of urine for 24 hours. Orange juice could thus be effective in reducing the risk of urolithiasis (formation of stones in the kidney, bladder, and/or urethra) and increasing poison elimination.
Orange Juice and Cancer Prevention
Several studies have shown that consumption of citrus fruits, including orange, would be linked to the prevention of certain cancers such as esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, as well as cancers of mouth and pharynx. According to one of them, moderate citrus consumption, 1 to 4 servings per week, would reduce the risk of cancers related to the digestive tract and upper respiratory system. A population-based study suggests that daily consumption of citrus combined with high consumption of green tea, 1 cup or more per day, is associated with a greater reduction in the incidence of malignant tumors.
Orange Juice and Cancer Chemoprevention
Limonoids, anticancer compounds antioxidants in citrus, have been showed cytotoxic effect in vitro and in animal models. They could reduce the proliferation of breast cancer cells, as well as malignant cells in the stomach, lung, mouth, and colon. Orange cancer fighting properties also help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting.
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