Open up a blood orange, and you’ll be surprised to find this small citrus fruit has a brilliant crimson flesh that begs to be enjoyed with a light sprinkling of calorie-free sweetener. This tasty citrus fruit originates from China, although it’s now grown in Texas and California. There’s something else about the blood red orange that makes it distinctive. Eating it could help you lose weight.
Benefits of Blood Oranges: Do They Help With Weight Loss?
An animal study supports the benefits of blood oranges for weight loss. Italian researchers found that mice that drank blood orange juice along with their regular diet were 13% slimmer at the end of a 3 month period. Even mice fed a high-fat diet didn’t gain weight when they were supplemented with blood orange juice. Interestingly, regular orange juice didn’t have the same weight loss benefits. Another study published in the International Journal of Obesity further supported the fat loss benefits of drinking blood orange juice.
How Are Blood Oranges Different?
The crimson interior of the blood orange reflects the high content of anthocyanins it contains. Anthocyanins are antioxidant pigments that aren’t commonly found in citrus fruits such as blood oranges. According to some preliminary studies, anthocyanins alter the function of fat cells so they’re less likely to be stored as fat. Anthocyanins also reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition characterized by abdominal obesity, high glucose levels, and hypertension. Metabolic syndrome is a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
You can find anthocyanins in other fruits such as red and blueberries, but it’s not clear whether there’s some other ingredient in blood oranges acting in conjunction with the anthocyanins to promote weight loss.
Blood Oranges for Weight Loss
Before heading to the supermarket to stock up on blood oranges, keep in mind these studies were carried out in animals. Even if they hold true in humans, there’s no “magic food” that can undo a bad diet and lack of exercise. On the other hand, blood oranges are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, so they have other health benefits as well.
To get the weight loss benefits, you would need to eat about two blood oranges a day or drink a large cup of blood orange juice. Blood oranges are a little more challenging to find at your local supermarket, but you can purchase them online. If you drink regular orange juice or eat oranges, substituting them with blood oranges could give you a “leg up” on weight loss.
Benefits of Blood Oranges: The Bottom Line?
It’s too early to say that blood oranges cause weight loss in humans, but eating blood oranges in place of regular ones may have additional health benefits because of the anthocyanins they contain. Enjoy their distinctive flavor and enticing crimson color.
Nutraingredients-usa.com. “Anthocyanins Show Potent Anti-Obesity Potential: Study”
First for Women. 1129-10. Page 22.
Dole.com. “Slimming Citrus”