Those who are looking into eating a healthier diet are probably familiar with the concept of eating a rainbow of foods. There are all kinds of amazing, colorful fruits and vegetables out there, just waiting to find their way onto your plate!
In this article, we’re all about orange food, specifically orange veggies. Unfortunately, there are few orange foods out there, and fewer orange veggies in particular, which makes bright orange foods a hard thing to incorporate into every meal.
We highly encourage you to try and eat more of them, though, because of all the amazing benefits orange fruits and veggies can bring to your diet. What are these health benefits? Let’s dive in and learn more!
Why You Should Eat Orange Vegetables
There are many health benefits to be found by incorporating more orange foods into your daily diet. It all comes down to a critical component that gives orange colored foods their bright orange coloring: beta carotene.
What Is Beta Carotene?
Beta carotene is a carotenoid that is found in many different fruits and vegetables, but you find it in its highest quantities in orange vegetables and fruits. It’s beta carotene that gives the color orange to different fruits and vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
Beta carotene is an antioxidant that many people don’t get enough of, which is what makes incorporating more orange foods into your diet so ideal.
When your body ingests orange foods, it takes in beta carotene and transforms it into beneficial vitamin a. Vitamin a is a vital nutrient for improving vision health, which is where the idea that carrots improve your vision comes from. It also plays a huge role in improving cognitive functions, reducing your risk of heart disease, supporting good cell growth for healthier organs, and much more.
Other Nutrients in Orange Foods
Of course, orange vegetables and fruits are good for more than just their beta carotene content. There are lots of other vitamins and nutrients characteristic of orange vegetables that offer plenty of health benefits. These include things like:
- Vitamin K: Vitamin k is beneficial for supporting better blood health, supporting blood clotting, and building strong bones and bone tissue.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin c is wonderful for supporting better immune system function, helps the body heal infections, makes collagen, heals connective tissues, and supports brain function.
- Potassium: Potassium is a mineral that supports your body’s tissue, helping to keep normal fluid levels in our cells. In this way, it can support better blood pressure, and assist in better bone health, muscle health, and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and heart disease.
- Fiber: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body uses to control hunger, regulate blood sugar, support good gut bacteria, and improve gut health.
Benefits of Eating Orange Foods
Now that we know all about the wonderful benefits of having beta carotene and other nutrients, let’s dive deeper into the specifics of how these foods can benefit you.
Here are the different ways orange foods can support better overall health:
Reduce Cancer Risk
There are studies that show that by eating orange veggies rich in things like vitamin a and vitamin c, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing certain cancers.
Support Good Eye Health
As we touched on above, beta carotene is an amazing antioxidant when it comes to improving eye health. It is beta carotene, alongside carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that have been linked to reducing the risk of developing cataracts and age-related eye degeneration.
Better Teeth and Gums
The vitamin a levels found in orange vegetables are also beneficial to supporting better teeth and gum health! Vitamin a is instrumental in supporting the mouth tissues and salivary glands, and can also reduce the likelihood of developing brittle teeth.
Vitamin c also helps here, improving gum health and immune system health, which can lessen issues like loose teeth and bloody gums.
Lower Blood Pressure
Orange fruits and vegetables are also high in potassium, which is amazing for helping to reduce someone’s blood pressure. This is because potassium can work to combat high sodium levels in the body, which can often lead to high blood pressure and issues like strokes.
Should I Also Eat Orange Fruits?
While our list is focusing on orange vegetables, we definitely suggest also incorporating more orange fruits into your diet. Fruits like oranges, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, and cantaloupe all carry unique health benefits, many of them related to their orange coloring.
A majority of orange fruits are a form of citrus fruit, which all carry a beneficial carotenoid called bioflavonoids, which bring on a lot of health benefits.
Studies have linked bioflavonoids to better absorption of vitamin c, meaning these fruits work even better to support immune system health, fight infection, and support good cell growth. Bioflavonoids are also a water-soluble compound, meaning you do not have to cook these fruits at all to reap their benefits.
Orange fruits also have beneficial beta carotene, and most of the other good stuff found in orange vegetables depends on the specific fruit. Incorporating orange fruits can help you improve overall health, improve vision, support strong bones and teeth, achieve healthy skin, and much more.
Our Ultimate Orange Vegetables List
Ready to explore the world of delicious, orange colored foods? Let’s dive into our list of delicious, nutritious orange vegetables that you can add to your next dinner plate.
Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular foods on our list because they’re just so delicious! This root vegetable is super rich in beneficial nutrient content, giving you massive amounts of beta carotene, copper, fiber, manganese, iron, b vitamins, and potassium.
We love sweet potatoes because they are amazing, filling starchy vegetable that is healthier than other root vegetables like it. Despite being a carb, sweet potatoes are actually known to be better for people with issues like diabetes, not causing sugar spikes as large as other potatoes.
They’re also rich in antioxidants and carotenoids that reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, improve gut health, and support better brain function.
Orange Bell Pepper
Bell peppers are a great and healthy addition to your diet, but not all bell peppers have the benefit of beta carotene like orange bell peppers do! When you choose to eat orange peppers, you can reap all the benefits of these healthy vegetables, with even more vitamin a than you’d find in other peppers.
Alongside tons of amazing vitamin a, orange bell peppers are also rich in nutrients such as vitamin c, vitamin b6, iron, folate, potassium, vitamin k, and vitamin e. They’re also relatively low calorie while still being pretty filling, making them great as both a snack food and the main star of your meal.
Eating more bell peppers can improve your eye health, and are also super beneficial to fighting anemia, giving you more iron. We highly recommend them for your new go-to healthy food snack.
Butternut squash is a delicious winter squash, loved by many for its versatility in the kitchen, and the many health benefits it offers.
Butternut squash is packed with vitamins and minerals, including beta carotene, vitamin c, vitamin e, b vitamins, folate, potassium, magnesium, and more. As a result, butternut squash can do a whole lot of good for your overall health.
Butternut squash has been linked to reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease. There are also studies that link vitamin e and other nutrients found in butternut squash to reducing the risk of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
As we said above, butternut squash is super versatile and easy to add to your diet. We recommend trying it as a classic butternut squash soup, roasted in the oven, or added to stews!
Acorn squash is packed with nutrients and health benefits that make it a great addition to your weekly meal plan.
Also a form of winter squash, acorn squash is noted for its sweet orange flesh and delicious nutty flavor. It is especially high in vitamin c, a good source of b vitamins, has tons of antioxidants, and is packed with beneficial fiber.
Adding acorn squash to your diet can help to improve overall digestive health, prevent chronic disease, and increase brain health.
Pumpkin is good for more than just carving at Halloween! While many people don’t consider eating pumpkin outside of the realm of pumpkin pie, there are plenty of delicious ways pumpkin can be enjoyed as a part of your day-to-day diet.
Pumpkin is yet another winter squash, popular for its use as jack o lanterns and in pies in the fall. However, there are tons of nutritional benefits to be found by eating the fruit on its own.
Pumpkin is packed with beta carotene, as well as fiber, vitamin k, vitamin e, vitamin c, and potassium. It’s been linked to improving immunity, supporting good eye vision, supporting healthy skin, improving your metabolism, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Like other winter squash, pumpkin can be cooked in many ways. You can make it into soup, roast it in the oven, add it to stews, or go for a classic pumpkin pie.
This list would not be complete if we didn’t mention carrots, everyone’s favorite orange vegetable!
It’s the beta carotene that makes carrots orange that has also made them the go-to vegetable for improving eye health. They also have a lot of biotin, potassium, vitamin k, and vitamin b6. Along with supporting your eyes, carrots are great for lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of cancer.
We also love that carrots are easy to enjoy in abundance! You can have raw carrots with dips, enjoy carrot juice, add cooked carrots to soups and stews, and even add shredded carrots into desserts. The possibilities are endless!
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!