Of all the different types of oranges, acidless oranges have got to be the most curious. Low in naturally occurring organic acids such as citric acid, acidless oranges lack the strong sharp, sour taste of regular oranges which is unusual, to say the least. Acidless oranges are high in vitamin C with anti-inflammatory properties, and a good source of pro-vitamin A alpha and beta-carotene and vitamins B1, B5, B6 and B9. The variety also contains potassium and magnesium and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin known for their benefits for eye health, namely lower risks of age related macular degeneration and cataract.
What are acidless oranges?
Acidless oranges (Citrus sinensis) are a variety of common sweet oranges (as opposed to bitter oranges). The most notable characteristic of acidless oranges is their low content of organic acids, naturally occurring chemicals that normally make oranges taste acidic, sharp or sour. Some people like to call acidless oranges ‘sweet oranges’ due to their lack of sourness which further accentuates their natural sweetness. Varieties of oranges related to acidless oranges are the common sweet orange (e.g. Valencia, Lima), navel oranges (e.g. Cara Cara navel oranges) and blood oranges (e.g. Maltese, Moro or red orange of Sicily).
What do acidless oranges look like?
Acidless oranges look just like common sweet oranges, except for the fact that they are usually smaller. Despite the fact that there are quite a few different varieties, appearance will not differ much between cultivars. Acidless oranges are small to medium-sized, round or slightly flattened, seedy oranges with a smooth, leathery, medium-thick orange rind, white albedo (pith) and lighter yellow flesh and juice. The color of the edible flesh is produced by orange and yellow carotenoid antioxidants. The Vaniglia Sanguigno acidless sweet orange is a particular variety with deep orange-colored rind and a pink pith – the pith stains the surrounding flesh pink, but the rest of the flesh stays yellow-orange. This type of acidless orange contains both yellow and orange carotenoid antioxidants and red lycopene.
What do acidless oranges taste like?
Acidless oranges lack the characteristic sourness or sharpness of common oranges because of their very low content of organic acids such as citric acid. Without the organic acids to make them acidic, acidless oranges have a more pregnant sweet taste which makes them popular among children and anyone with digestive issues as they still have a citrussy aroma, but without the high content of acids that cause digestive upset. However, some argue that acidless oranges are not as good tasting because of their lack of sharpness or sourness, despite their citrussy scent. In any case, the rind is aromatic, full of volatile essential oils, and the flesh is extremely juicy and sweet.
Acidless oranges varieties
- Lima acidless orange
- Orange of Heaven acidless orange
- Vaniglia acidless orange
- Vaniglia Sanguigno acidless orange (pink pith and pink-stained flesh edges)
Acidless oranges nutrition facts
- High in vitamin C with over 50% of the daily recommended intake, RDI, per 100 g of fruit.
- Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6 and B9 (between 5% and 10% RDI).
- Contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium.
- Trace amounts of vitamins A, E, B2, B3 and choline, iron, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
- Source of carotenoid antioxidants: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin with vitamin A activity, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
- The pith, flesh and juice contain flavonoid antioxidants such as naringenin which has antibacterial, antifungal, free radical scavenging and anticancer properties.
- The peel is a source of volatile and aromatic organic compounds with antimicrobial, antifungal properties.
- Moderate carbs and sugar content (9% to 12%), but tastes sweeter due to the fruit having a naturally low content of organic acids.
- Low-protein and low-fat food.
Acidless oranges benefits and uses
- Good for acid reflux. Eating acidless oranges with acid reflux disease does not trigger symptoms or cause a flareup in the condition, provided intake is limited to small amounts.
- Good for gastritis. Because they are very low in organic acids, acidless oranges do not add to the inflammation of the stomach lining in gastritis, making them relatively safe to eat in limited amounts.
- Antiaging benefits. Acidless oranges are high in vitamin C which activates the production of collagen for improved skin elasticity and fewer wrinkles.
- Anti-inflammatory properties. Acidless oranges are an anti-inflammatory food and help lower levels of inflammation markers in the body. Bioactive ingredients include vitamin C, carotenoid antioxidants, flavonoids and more.
- Antimicrobial action. Vitamin C, naringenin and other bioactive compounds in acidless oranges flesh, juice and pith exert antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects, while in the rind the antimicrobial and antifungal action is owed to aromatic volatile organic compounds.
- Anti-hypertensive benefits. Acidless oranges, fruit and juice, provide potassium and magnesium to regulate blood pressure numbers, as well as bioactive components such as hesperidin and lycopene in red acidless oranges with blood pressure-lowering effects.
- Blood cholesterol lowering properties. Acidless oranges provide good amounts of dietary fiber that helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the GI tract, and bioactive components with cholesterol-lowering properties such as hesperidin.
- Good food for weight loss. Low in calories and fat (around 50 kcal/100 g and less than 1.5% fat), but a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, acidless oranges can help you lose weight in a healthy manner.
- Anti-hypoglycemic effects. Natural sugars in the variety raise blood sugar levels and help combat hypoglycemia-related lethargy, tiredness and low energy levels.
- Benefits for wound healing. A consistent intake of foods high in vitamin C such as acidless oranges and other varieties of oranges help with faster wound healing.
- Potential benefits for brain fog. B vitamins and natural sugars in acidless oranges feed the brain and help support brain activity for less brain fog and improved productivity.
- Benefits for pregnant women owed to vitamin B9 which is good for proper baby development during pregnancy, potassium and magnesium for healthy blood pressure numbers and other B vitamins which have a tonic, energizing action.
- Minor benefits for diabetes. Acidless oranges are a low glycemic food with limited effects on blood sugar levels, if intakes are reasonable.
- Lower risk of cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) owed to xanthophyll antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Benefits for eyesight thanks to pro-vitamin A alpha and beta-carotene which support good color vision and low light vision.
Acidless oranges side effects and contraindications
There are really no side effects to eating acidless oranges other than a risk of allergic reactions in individuals allergic to components in the fruit. Other than this, acidless oranges are generally safe to eat fresh, cooked or juiced, and provide good nutrition and a range of health benefits. A side effect is that acidless oranges spoil faster due to a low content of organic acids.