Oranges win the nutritional sweepstakes

  • By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz Chicago Tribune
  • Monday, November 11, 2013 1:01pm
  • Life

Americans don’t eat nearly as much fruit as they should to maintain a healthy diet. Nutrition experts advise eating fruit, any whole fruit, as often as possible, at least two cups of it a day.

Of the Big Three, oranges, apples and bananas, which is nutritionally superior?

It turns out comparing apples and oranges isn’t totally bananas. And the orange, by at least one measure, has an edge.

“If you consider the concentration of a array of nutrients relative to calories, the orange is the most nutritious, followed by the apple, followed by bananas,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author or “Disease Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well.”

Orange

Calories: 60 Fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 15 grams Dietary fiber: 3 g Sugar: 12 g Sodium: 0 mg Protein: 1 g

One orange contains 120 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. A good source of calcium, folates, thiamin, flavanones (antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals) and naringin (an anti-inflammatory that may help protect the immune system).

Apple

Calories: 100 Fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 25 g Dietary fiber: 4 g Sugar: 19 g Sodium: 0 mg Protein: 0 g

A good source of soluble fiber, which is helpful in controlling blood pressure, lipids, cholesterol and blood sugar. Because it involves a lot of chewing, it can make you feel more satiated.

Banana

Calories: 105 Fat: 0.4 g Carbohydrates: 27 g Dietary fiber: 3 g Sugar: 14 g Sodium: 1 mg Protein: 1 g

Contains 422 mg of potassium, which people often don’t get enough of. Potassium helps blunt the effect of salt on blood pressure and may help reduce the risk of kidney stones and muscle loss. Good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, vitamin C and dietary fiber.

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