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Nothing quite screams “autumn” like all the orange fruits and vegetables that are associated with the season. However, orange foods are much more than just visually appealing, they are insanely healthy and can be eaten in many different ways, some of them you don’t even require cooking. Trying to think of all the orange foods you can start to add to your diet can be quite difficult, so to help you out, I have compiled a list of the tastiest and healthiest ones I could find!

Orange pumpkins on black plastic container

What are the health benefits of orange, healthy foods?

Before we get into what foods you should start introducing to your diet, it is worth an explanation as to why they are so healthy. After all, you’re currently taking me for my word which while trustable, is not much to go on. So let’s talk about why orange fruits and veg are so healthy.

Carotenoids

The reason these foods are orange, for the most part, is due to their high content of carotenoid pigments. These are phytonutrients that are commonly found in large quantities in foods with a yellow or orange hue. Carotenoids can be divided into 3 main categories of antioxidants which are;

  • Xanthophyll
  • Carotene
  • Lycopene

Vitamin A is also found in beta carotene and is widely known for its amazing protective abilities for eye health, and healing vision diseases such as macular degeneration.

Carotenoids also help mitigate any oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a phenomenon caused by an imbalance between the production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species in the body’s cells and tissues. Carotenoids interact with these free radicals on a chemical level and disarm them, which helps alleviate the physiological stater of oxidative stress.

Dietary fiber

A lot of fruit and vegetables, especially these ones, have a lot of dietary fiber in them. Dietary fiber is great for normalizing bowel movement, maintaining bowel health, and controlling the blood sugar levels in the body. The average daily intake recommendation for this fiber is 38 grams for a man under 50 and 25 grams for a woman under 50.

Boost immune system

The same nutrients that color these foods are the same ones your body uses to make vitamin A, which is essential to a good immune system. It also helps with boosting the effectiveness of any immunizations you may have had such as a flu shot. Vitamin A is also linked to the protection against autoimmune diseases such as lupus, sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.

Control blood sugar

Controlling your blood sugar levels is essential for anyone who suffers from any diseases that affect this. That includes diseases such as diabetes type 1 and 2. Some fruits, superficially orange ones, come packed with fibers and antioxidants that help with this. Pumpkins especially are used as a traditional diabetic remedy in countries such as Mexico and Iran.

Healthy skin

Vitamin C is essential for anyone who wants healthier skin. It is easy to consume and get enough of, while also being a great antioxidant. Vitamin C improves the immune system and promotes radiant skin while also helping blemishes heal properly and in a much nicer way. This means any cuts are less likely to scar horribly if you keep on top of your vitamin C. Oranges have an insanely high amount of this vitamin and are a great choice for a breakfast snack to help you with this.

Bone health

Beta carotene is turned into vitamin A by the body which is essential for helping with immune systems and cell growth. On top of this, vitamin A is also very important for our bone health and an increase in it will lead to healthier and stronger bones. While most sources of vitamin A are meats or dairy products, orange fruits such as tangerines and nectarines are very high in this as well.

Healthy vision

Vision is incredibly important and increasing your intake of vitamin C will help with this. Carrots are a great source of vitamin C, as are other orange foods such as oranges. Not only does it promote eye health, but it also prevents deterioration in your eyes from diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

Heart disease

Pumpkins and oranges contain a very healthy antioxidant known as lycopene, which is good at protecting our bodies from cancer and heart disease. Studies have shown that higher consumption of lycopene is directly related to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are easily one of the healthiest orange foods available. They are rich in micronutrients such as potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Alongside this, they are incredibly rich in beta carotene. Despite being associated with fall, sweet potatoes are available all year round from supermarkets and are surprisingly cheap for how healthy and delicious they are. Sweet potatoes work really well in the same ways normal potatoes do, they can be added to stews or can be used as a side dish. The carbohydrates in sweet potatoes are digested a lot slower by the body than those found in regular potatoes, which means they will not spike your blood sugar. In my opinion, the best way to eat sweet potatoes is to cut them into wedges or slices and bake them to make sweet potato fries. They are delicious, crispy and so healthy. Be sure to leave the skin on, though, for some extra fiber and nutrients.

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that can grow in either a yellow or orange color. Not only are they high in carotenoids, but they also have an impressive amount of vitamin C and potassium in them. Butternut squash can be added into a soup, to give it a really dense and deep flavor, as well as being able to be roasted with some olive oil and seasonings and being served as a side dish.

Pumpkin

Whenever autumn, Halloween, and thanksgiving are mentioned then people immediately start to think of pumpkins. Every drink becomes flavored with pumpkin spice, pumpkin pies are made in bulk, and kids get giddy over the idea of carving a face into the front of them. Thankfully, pumpkins are more than just an autumnal delicacy and are actually really healthy to eat. You can make your own pumpkin puree but it can also be bought from a store all year round. Pumpkins can be used as a savory ingredient to thicken soups and stews as well as give them a burst of carotenoids. which instantly makes them healthier. Pumpkins can also be used in fruit smoothies to enhance their flavor, it is best recommended to use canned pumpkins for this as they tend to be more bitter which pairs well with the flavor of the fruit. Pumpkin soup is also a delicious way to introduce pumpkins to your diet.

Oranges

The most famous orange food in the world. No one knows which came first, the fruit or the color? Anyways, oranges are a citrus fruit that is known for their high vitamin C content. They are also insanely high in carotenoids, fiber, and phytochemical antioxidants called polyphenols. They also contain flavanones which are a particular type of polyphenols that fight against oxidative stress.

The peel of an orange contains an even higher concentration of these vitamins and nutrients, and can easily be eaten by using an entire orange in a smoothie. If you want to get as many nutrients as possible out of your orange then use a frozen one in a smoothie without peeling the skin off, simply wash it and add it to the smoothie. The orange juice you find in a store with pulp is also a good way to intake more of these nutrients, however, juices have none of the fibers in them so your body can easily have a blood sugar spike if you are not careful.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers come in yellow, orange, red, and green colors. The yellow and orange ones are insanely high in carotenoids and have tremendous health benefits. Bell peppers can be eaten completely raw if you want to, and make fine healthy alternatives to chips as they are crunchy. Washing them and then slicing them into strips is a great way to eat them, especially if you have any dips like hummus around. Bell peppers can also be added to a lot of recipes thanks to their versatile flavor. Most notably, bell peppers are used in fajitas and other similar meals. Bell peppers can also be made into a variety of different flavored paprika, such as sweet, spicy, or smoked paprika. This is gone by simply dehydrating the bell peppers and then grinding them until they are a powder with the consistency of sand.

Pineapple

This one may surprise you but pineapples are on the list as they sometimes appear with a light orange hue. They are tropical fruit with a very iconic sweet flavor with a bitter and sour undertone. Pineapples are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Most notably, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Pineapple also possesses a large number of carotenoids. Pineapples are often used in cooking to complement any savory dish due to how naturally sweet they are. They pair great with fish, and even better with salty meats such as ham or gammon. But if they belong on pizza is a different debate entirely.

Carrots

Carrots are easily the second most common orange food, second only to oranges themselves. Carrots are often associated with night vision as parents like to tell their kids that they help with this, in reality, it is just their high concentration of vitamin C that makes this happen. They do not grant night vision, they just help with eye health and stop your eyes from deteriorating with age. Carrots are often used by chefs as part of a “holy trinity” with onions and celery as they are aromatics that will help improve the flavor of any dish beyond belief. Carrots can be eaten in many different ways. They can be eaten raw with dips alongside them, or they can be cooked in a lot of ways and added to the side of any meal. They are also very common as an ingredient in soups, broths, and stews.

Will you start to put more of these foods in your diet?

As you can see, adding more of these foods into your diet can be easy, tasty, and super beneficial to your overall health. If you are lacking in any of these vitamins specifically then it is important to intake some more, but in general, everyone will benefit from increasing their consumption of these.

What fruits and vegetables are orange?

There are many orange foods but the most notable ones are oranges, pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

Why are orange foods healthy?

Orange foods contain carotenoids which are phytonutrients that help the body in many different ways. One of the main ways they help is by being turned into vitamin A which is great for helping the immune system.