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Blood and navel oranges are both citrus fruits. They can be used similarly in desserts, as a snack or as an ingredient in a salad or recipe. However, these two types of oranges are significantly different in appearance, taste and nutritional values. Even their places of origin are disparate; Citrus Pages online reports naval oranges are thought to originally be from Brazil, while blood oranges were first reported in the Mediterranean basin.

Appearance Navel oranges received their name thanks to a protrusion on the skin that looks somewhat like a human navel. This is actually another, secondary, embryo inside the fruit. The blood orange does not possess this feature, and the skin in general is thinner than that of the thick skinned navel. The fruit flesh of the blood orange is usually pink or red in color, hence its name. The juice of the blood orange is also red, unlike the orange colored juice of the navel fruit.

Flavor and Uses Blood oranges possess a distinctive flavor compared to other sweet oranges like navels. This citrus variety is considered less acidic in taste than the navel and often contains overtones of berries such as raspberry or strawberry. The blood orange is considered an eating and juicing orange, while the navel is more of an eating orange. Its sweet taste can turn somewhat bitter when its juice is exposed to air.

Nutritional Values All types of oranges are fat free or very low in fat, cholesterol free, sodium free and high in fiber. All oranges contain varying levels of vitamins,
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minerals and antioxidants, such as vitamin A, calcium, niacin and folate. They are especially high in vitamin C. However, blood oranges contain up to 40 percent more of this important vitamin than navels and other sweet oranges.

Flavenoids Blood oranges contain much higher levels of the flavenoid pigment anthocyanin than do navel oranges, and it is this pigment that gives blood oranges their unusual color. Anthocyanins are effective disease fighting antioxidants when consumed as part of your diet. Flavenoids are used by the body to help prevent health issues such as blood vessel ruptures, oxygen damage to cells and inflammation throughout your body. These substances also help enhance the effectiveness of vitamin C. Both types of oranges are a healthy treat, but on the nutrition front, blood oranges may be your better bet.

References (4) World’s Healthiest Foods: OrangesProduce Oasis: Blood OrangesCitrus Pages: Blood OrangesTrue Star Health: Encyclopedia of Health Oranges

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