The Real Difference Between Blood Oranges And Navel Oranges

Oranges of all varieties are nutritional and refreshing citrus fruits. They offer a healthy, hydrating, and welcome burst of tropical flavor, especially in the warmer months. Although there are many similarities between the different types of oranges, each variety is a little unique.

Navel and blood oranges are both low-calorie fruits that have a very similar nutritional content. Both varieties have about 70 calories, 16 grams of carbs, 12 grams of sugar, and three grams of fiber per the average fruit, according to SFGate.

The main difference between blood and navel oranges is the color of their flesh. Blood oranges have a rich, reddish interior, from which they derive their name. The vivid pigment in this type of orange comes from a biologically produced chemical called anthocyanins, which is found in many colorful foods, like blueberries, tomatoes, and eggplants. These anthocyanins can potentially help eliminate free radicals from the body, which means eating blood oranges can help improve your heart health and even boost your memory.

Blood and navel oranges have different growing seasons

However, navel oranges take first prize when it comes to vitamin C content. Although all oranges are a great source of this vitamin, an average-sized navel orange packs about 140 percent of your daily nutritional value of the good stuff, so it's definitely the fruit to reach for if you are feeling under the weather (via SFGate). In addition to being an essential antioxidant, vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, which keeps your skin healthy and elastic and can help you stay looking young.

Navel oranges can also be eaten nearly year-round, per Pittman & Davis' blog, while blood oranges have a much shorter season. Unlike traditional oranges, blood oranges are only available in the winter and early spring, with their peak happening between December and April.

The two fruits also have slightly different flavor profiles. According to FruitStand, blood oranges are less acidic, and sometimes have a bit of a cranberry kick, while navel oranges are a little sweeter and easier to peel. So if you like complex, tart flavors, you might prefer the blood orange, but if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, reach for the navel variety.