Orange is the fruit of the orange tree (Citrus × sinensis), a tree in the Rutaceae family. It is a hybrid fruit that would have arisen in antiquity from the crossing of cimboa with tangerine. ... Sweet orange was brought from China to Europe in the 16th century by the Portuguese.
The delicious sweet orange juice consumed around the world was born as a bitter fruit, growing wild in China. Thousands of years ago orange was probably grown by Chinese hair in 2500 BC. Roots have also been found in Assam, India and Myanmar.
Mysteriously, for thousands of years oranges remained an oriental delight, unreported by the rest of the world. Those that reached the West in the early days were of the sour variety. Finally, the Romans, always on the market for exotic products, obtained oranges the hard way - after long sea voyages from India that finally brought young trees to the Roman port of Ostia, probably in the first century AD. After the fall of Rome in the fifth century AD, the growth and import of oranges disappeared for centuries.
Orange trees were most commonly planted in North Africa in the first century AD. The Moors, Muslims native to the region, brought oranges with them to southern Spain in the eighth or ninth century, in the conquest. By the year 1200, orange groves occupied the area from Seville to Granada, as well as regions of Portugal. Another Muslim group, the Saracens, introduced planting in Sicily, the island south of Italy, at the same time.
The first time that the orange ventured beyond the Atlantic Ocean was in 1493 with Christopher Columbus. He transported seeds, and perhaps young trees, of orange and lemon from the Spanish Canary Islands to the island today divided by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Soon several Caribbean islands were planted with orange, either sweet or bitter. The seedlings arrived in Panama with the Spanish in 1516 and in Mexico two years later. At the same time, the Portuguese planted sweet oranges in Brazil.
Brazil is the world leader in orange production. Half of the orange juice consumed in the world is Brazilian, and Brazil dominates 80% of the concentrated orange juice market. In São Paulo, 20,000 farms employing 400,000 workers plant China, Valencia, Natal and Navel.
The consumption of orange decreases the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. The flavonoids present in the fruit limit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Orange is also rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, beta-carotene and fiber, so it is ideal for fighting bad cholesterol (LDL).
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