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The Surprising Benefits of Oranges

Here's what you might not know about the OG of citrus.

Samantha  Lefave

Samantha Lefave

Oranges don't just yield the nectar that complements cheap bubbly during a bottomless brunch. The little vitamin-C bombs your mom used to pack in your lunch have an array of unexpected benefits hiding beneath their peels. Here's what you might not know about the OG of citrus.

They could combat bad breath.
Richard Marques, a practicing dentist at Wimpole Street Dental in London (he's helped keep Rita Ora's teeth pearly white), says orange peels may help eliminate bad breath. "The citric acid that they contain will stimulate your salivary glands and encourage the flow of breath-freshening saliva," he explains. And don't discount the peel—Marques says chewing small pieces can help freshen breath, too.

They may ease a nasty hangover.
It's Saturday morning when the splitting headache hits, and you realize that trivia night got a little rowdy after partaking of a few more beers than planned. Rather than wasting half your weekend, peel an orange, toss the peels in a pot, cover with salt water, and boil for 20 minutes while you pull yourself together (a.k.a. Seamless a bacon egg and cheese). Let the solution cool for a bit, then drink up. Tara Mackey, author of Cured by Nature, says it will help you rehydrate. Go on, put your heart in it—the placebo effect is real.

And act as a natural bug spray.
To keep your skin from being a total suck-fest for mosquitos in warmer weather, grab leftover orange peels. Mackey says bugs hate the smell of citrus, and rubbing the peels on yourself skin-side down—so you're not a sticky mess—lets the natural oils transfer over to your skin and deter bugs, flies, and ants from making you their next meal. If you prefer a spray, puree the peels in a blender with water, then dump it in a spray bottle and go ham.

Oranges can keep your home grease-free.
"The acid in citric acid gives [oranges] their tartness, but it also acts as a powerful cleansing agent," Mackey explains. Plus, the natural oils found in the peels add a non-greasy, sparkly shine to stoves and sinks that'll coerce your visiting parents into thinking you actually clean on the regular.

And stink-free, too.
The last thing anyone wants is a stank house, especially when the temps rise and food rots faster. Mackey's advice: Remove the pulp of an orange and fill each half with salt. Place it in the fridge, just like you would with baking soda, for a citrus-y clean scent. Same goes with your garbage can, but this time skip the salt. Mackey says leaving 10-20 peels at the bottom will help deodorize the funkiness until your next bag change.

The information in this report is the opinion of the author(s) and in no way reflects the policies or positions of Tropicana. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or nutrition advice.